If you’re having problems at home you may feel like you’ve no option but to leave. Go to someone you trust for help. Contact the Housing Executive or your social worker, if you have one, for a place to stay.
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. Let someone know where you are. Even though it may not feel like it people do care about what happens to you.
If you’re nervous about asking for help from the Housing Executive or Social Services, speak to Housing Rights. We can explain your rights and tell you about groups that can help 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.
If there’s been a big argument at home, you may need to have someone independent help you get past it. Mediation might help. In mediation an independent person can help people who are in a disupte work out their differences and come to an agreement. Your school or college might have a mediation service for families and carers – check with a teacher or counsellor. Charities for young people or parents may be able to arrange mediation to help you to deal with any problems and return home.
Sometimes, 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.
...in an emergency
In an emergency, contact the Housing Executive or Social Services. These organisations have a legal responsibility to help a person who is homeless and under the age of 18. If you're 18 or older, they may still be able to help.
...with time to plan
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 and whether you'll be able to get any financial help to cover the cost of living away from home.