Leaving home can be an exciting experience, but it can also be stressful and difficult. Being well prepared can help you avoid ending up in unsuitable accommodation or, worse, finding yourself with nowhere to live at all.
Getting ready to leave
Leaving home is a massive step to take, and the key to avoiding problems further down the line is preparation. Don't feel you have to move before you're ready, unless you feel unsafe at home.
Remember to consider all the down sides of having your own place as well as all the good things. If you know anyone that has recently left home, talk to them about their experiences.
Before you leave home, it's important to work out a budget to make sure you'll be able to afford all the new things you'll have to pay for.
When you draw up a budget, you add up all your outgoings and all your income, then subtract the outgoings from the income and hope that there's something left over. If you're moving out for the first time, you need to be realistic about what you'll spend on your living costs. Make sure you include enough for rent, utilities, phone bills, groceries and transport. When you're setting up home for the first time, you may have to spend a lot of money in the first couple of months on essential household items, such as pots and pans and electrical equipment.
You may feel that running away from home is the only solution to your problems. Perhaps you don't get on with your family, or you feel unsafe at home. Perhaps you are having problems outside the home, such as bullying.
No matter why you want to leave, getting help while you're still at home is usually a better option than running away. If you're having a tough time in your family home, it's important that you speak to someone. Talk to a friend, colleague or a specialist support agency for assistance. Things may not be as bad as they seem.
Dealing with the Housing Executive
If you have nowhere to live, you can make a homeless application to the Housing Executive. You don't have to be sleeping on the street, you can be staying with friends or family or living in a hostel or B&B.
Everyone has a right to make a homeless application to the Housing Executive, but if you don't pass the Housing Executive's four tests, it may take a long time to get an offer of social housing. Talk to an advice agency like Housing Rights Service before you leave home. An adviser may be able to give you a realistic idea of your chances of getting rehoused quickly.
Your housing options
If you need to move out in a hurry, or you want to leave the family home but aren't yet ready for the responsibility of a place of your own, there are several short term and longer term housing options available.