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Youth homelessness: early intervention leads to prevention

Sage Foundation: A Place to Call Home

Sage Foundation - A Place to Call Home introduction image: photo of an older woman sitting with young woman, clasping her hand.


In 2016, Sage Foundation began A Place to Call Home, undertaking research with The Centre for Education and Youth to understand the causes of youth homelessness in the North East of England and how these interact with young people’s experiences in education. Since then, Sage Foundation has worked with a range of organisations and experts to investigate how young people can best be supported. Our work over the last four years has shown that homelessness interventions need to move to a preventative approach, and that early intervention is key.

Sage Foundation’s pilot programme has demonstrated that whole-family, community-led support can prevent young people from becoming homeless, protecting them from the devastating harm homelessness causes, and putting them and their families on a different path where they have the skills and support to thrive.

Download our free toolkit resource

A Place to Call Home demonstrated that this approach is effective in preventing youth homelessness, and our research with the wider charity sector illustrates that whole-family community-led support can also tackle other issues, including preventing children from ending up in care, and supporting prisoners and young offenders.

This toolkit draws together our learning from the research, evaluation and collaboration we have undertaken in the last four years and is aimed at all professionals and organisations who want to begin, improve or scale up programmes that take a whole-family and/or a community-led approach to preventing or addressing youth homelessness. We hope that it will support more organisations to help ensure that all young people have A Place to Call Home.

Sage Foundation - A Place to Call Home toolkit panel image: photo of woman sitting at table, talking to, and supporting two young people

Project timeline

During the project we researched, tested, reviewed and implemented our learnings as well as hosting key events and creating research papers to share our work and findings.

To find out more, please download our infographic which maps out the project timeline and includes links to the resources created at each stage.

Key statistics

Each year in the UK, around 150,000 young people present to their local authority as homeless and ask for support, but only around half receive any. 16-24 year olds who are accepted as statutorily homeless make up just 12 % of the total number of young people that approach their local authority for support ; nearly double that number will be turned away.
On any one night, up to 255,000 young people are estimated to experience hidden homelessness. This includes those who are living on the streets or just getting by through couch surfing with no guarantee of where they will sleep each night.
Research on adult homelessness finds that each homeless individual costs the state between £25,000 and £35,000 more than other citizens. The same research suggests the cost of preventing homelessness is estimated to be approximately £9,000 less.

Sage is providing this toolkit for organisations to use in their work tackling youth homelessness. Sage works hard to ensure the information is correct at the time of publication and strives to keep all supplied information up-to-date and accurate, but makes no representations or warranties of any kind--express or implied--about the ongoing accuracy, reliability, suitability, or completeness of the information provided.

The information contained within this toolkit is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice. Sage assumes no responsibility for any action taken on the basis of the toolkit. Any reliance you place on the information contained within the toolkit is at your own risk. In using the toolkit, you agree that Sage is not liable for any loss or damage whatsoever, including without limitation, any direct, indirect, consequential or incidental loss or damage, arising out of, or in connection with, the use of this information.

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