What does a good professional relationship look like for homeless young people?

To be young and homeless is a very difficult position to be in. Homeless youth face similar challenges to other young people, in managing their friendships and relationships, in learning to become independent, in finding work, and in successfully completing their education. However, they often have to do so without access to the emotional and financial support that families can bring, in a much shorter space of time, and with few resources being available to them.

They also have to deal with the stigma attached both to being homeless and young, and without having a home they can be themselves in. All the while, they face the psychological effects of being rejected by their families and sometimes even by the very services they expect to find help and support from. The fact that the homeless youth I spoke to during my research continually struggled on to meet these challenges with such humour and humility is testament to the strength of their character. That they also wanted to give back and help other young people in similar situations shows how much potential these young people have.

As homeless youth face intense difficulties across so many aspects of their lives, services such as those offered by Centrepoint are vital. Centrepoint services are important in supporting young people to cope with the difficulties they face, in rebuilding their sense of trust in adults, and most importantly in achieving a positive vision of themselves as successful adults. In order to see themselves in positive ways, against a backdrop of stigma and rejection, the young people I spoke to emphasised the caring and respectful attitudes of staff members.

It was important that staff members encouraged them to talk openly, that they were met with a sense of understanding, that they felt listened to and involved in the decisions made around their lives, that staff members were always there for them, and that they felt safe. As they were starting on a journey towards independence, it was really important that staff members gave them a safe space to make mistakes and that they weren’t penalised for making these.

Young people said that Centrepoint staff went above and beyond what they expected of them, which shows the commitment of many staff in supporting young people. However, young people felt they needed more access to support from mental health services, and said they’d value this at the Centrepoint service, as its atmosphere felt safe enough to open up in. With this added support young people said they would be more able to cope with the difficulties that being young and homeless brought, and more able to work towards more positive visions of themselves and their future.

Download the full report

Download the toolkit

Philip Mullen is a PhD candidate in Geography at Newcastle University. If you have any questions about the research or want to find out more you can contact him via:

Leave a Reply


More news

Supported by:

Youth Homeless North East is made possible by the generous support of





Contact Us:

Youth Homeless North East
MEA House
Ellison Place
Newcastle upon Tyne

Tel: 0191 255 1911


Make a donation using Virgin Money Giving