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When everyone has a home

Housing advice for Northern Ireland

Leaving home in a hurry

If you’re having problems at home you may feel like you’ve no option but to leave. If you’re worried for your safety if you stay or you’ve been thrown out, try to go somewhere you feel safe, like a relative or friend’s house.

Stay safe

Go somewhere where you will be safe.  See if you can stay for a night or two with a friend, a neighbour or a relative.  If you haven’t got anyone that you can trust, you should go to Social Services or the Housing Executive who may have to find you somewhere to stay depending on your age and your circumstances.

If you’re nervous about going to one of these agencies or you’re worried about getting involved with Social Services, speak to an advice agency first.  These agencies can help put you in touch with the right people or explain your rights to you.  There are some groups which deal specifically with young people and other charities which have experience with housing or welfare issues.

Let someone know where you are.  Even though it may not feel like it people do care about what happens to you.

Talk it over

Maybe you’ve had a big bust up with someone at home and it feels like you can’t go back.  People say things in the heat of the moment that they don’t really mean and once you’ve cooled off things might seem different.

If you’ve run away from home your parents or carers will be worried.  They’ll want to know that you’re okay.  Give them a call.  If you don’t have credit you can usually reverse the charges.  There are several reverse charge numbers that you can call from your mobile.  Try 08000 686 323 or 0800 738 3773.  You can record your name so whoever answers will know the call is from you.

Mediation

If there’s been a big argument at home, you may need to have someone independent help you get past it.  Mediation might be a good way of solving your differences.  Your school or college might have a mediation service for families and carers – check with a teacher or counsellor.

There are also some organisations which offer mediation. Charities which provide support for young people or parents may be able to help with discussions that can help you to deal with any problems and return home.  Professional counsellors and mediators will also provide this service, but will probably charge a fee.

Moving on

It might be the case that, no matter what steps you take, it’s not going to be a good idea to go back home.  If you don’t feel safe or welcome at home or you’re worried about ruining your relationship with your family or carers you might feel it's better to move out.

If it’s possible, talk to the people at home and see if you can stay there for a month or so to allow you to plan properly for moving out.  This will give you time to budget for the costs of living away from home and will give you more time to find a place that suits you. Chat to an advice agency to try to find out what options you've got.

You might not be able to stay at home or with friends longer than a night or two.  If this is the case you should go to the Housing Executive or Social Services to see what kind of emergency accommodation is available.  If you’ve got some money saved up, you might want to rent from a private landlord, but this can be expensive, particularly if you’re not working or are on a low wage.