Relationship breakdown is the leading cause of youth homelessness. By tackling it early, we believe that we can prevent homelessness and improve outcomes for the young people we work with.

Our family support service helps young people who have run away or gone missing and their carers and families. These incidents are often symptomatic of a bigger issue – and by addressing that, we’re able to help.

Family worker Joe says: “It comes down to building relationships – we work with parents, listen to them and let them blow off some steam to us if they need. When they understand that you’re there to help and that you aren’t trying to get them into trouble, that’s when you build that trust and can move forward and resolve issues.

“The way I try to work with families is to break things down into manageable pieces, like a jigsaw puzzle. You work on the individual pieces and eventually you build up a bigger picture and fully understand the problems and the solutions. Then families aren’t having to battle on every front, all the time. That can be overwhelming.

“It’s also about working on communication. If every time you try to address an issue you just end up screaming and shouting, the response you’re going to get back is screaming and shouting.”

“There was one young man I worked with who was running away quite a lot, and his behaviour in school was quite bad.

“When I started working with him, I tried to broach school and see what we could do about it. For me, it seemed like the missing was all around not wanting to go to school.

“He would come home when he’d not been at school, Mum would get a text saying he hadn’t been at school and react, he would react to that and then he’d go missing overnight. So we needed to crack that cycle.

“I worked really closely with school and got him into some external provision – something that was less academic and more hands-on. He really enjoyed that, and started going there more, and then eventually we even got him back in school to do Maths and English.

“You could see a direct correlation between school attendance going up and missing going down.

“That helped the situation at home, rather than battling against each other, they’d go shopping or for coffee and spend quality time together. After six months you could see a huge change, and that was really rewarding.”

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