Young People (16-24 year olds)

Leaving home is one of the biggest steps you can take in your life and can cause problems if you don’t plan properly. This advice page is for young people thinking about leaving home and living independently.

16/17 Year olds

Unless you are at risk of violence, the best place for you to live is the family home. If you are having difficulties at home, we can work with Cornwall Council Children’s Services and your family to find a solution. We have a free mediation service that can work with you and your family to solve problems, and get you talking.

You cannot legally hold your own tenancy until you are 18.

In some cases you can claim Universal Credit if you are 16/17. Check to see if you are eligible.

Care Leavers

Children’s Services must help young people who have been in care and who are under the age of 21 years and up to the age of 24 if you have vulnerabilities. See more information on supporting young people leaving care if you are homeless or at risk of homelessness.

Also refer Cornwall Housing advice on care leavers.

All Young Adults

Unless you are unsafe at home, it is best to make a ‘planned move’. Young People Cornwall and other support services offer you the chance to talk confidentially and find solutions so that you can stay at home until you can plan your move properly.

See links at the bottom of this page.

If you are experiencing violence or abuse, contact the police or an agency listed at the bottom of this advice page.

If you move out there are lots of things that you need to think about before finding somewhere to live, for example:

  • Do you know where you can get help if things don’t go as planned?
  • Can you return home if things go wrong?
  • Can you afford to pay your rent by yourself?
  • Do you know how to deal with all the paperwork?
  • How will you manage your money and make sure all your bills get paid?

You may find it helpful to speak to someone about these things. The Housing Options Officers at Cornwall Housing will be happy to help you. You could also speak to an adult that you trust, a teacher or a worker at any of the organisations listed on the back of this fact sheet.

If you’re staying with friends, you could end up moving from place to place or ‘sofa surfing’. Without a settled address you will also have problems with benefits, employment, education and even things like cooking, laundry and having relationships. Mediation may be effective in helping you to return home.

Private renting

Many people’s first home is rented from a private landlord. You will almost always need to pay rent in advance and a deposit before you can move in. If you are under 35 and on a low income the amount of Housing Benefit/Universal Credit you can claim is limited, and it is unlikely you will be able to afford your own self-contained property.


This is where a landlord lets out a spare room or rooms in their home. Meals and other services may be provided but check out what you need to pay for apart from your rent and be sure you understand and agree to the ‘house rules’.

Cornwall Homechoice

Cornwall Homechoice is a choice-based lettings (CBL) scheme for all social landlords in Cornwall and it can take a very long time to be re-housed in this way.

Supported Accommodation

Cornwall has a range of supported accommodation such as Foyers. for young people aged 16-24 who with support needs are threatened with homelessness These often have support staff based on-site that can help with education and employment. You must stick to the rules and to your development plan to stay at the project. They will help you to move on to more independent living when you are ready.

To find out more, speak to Housing Options on 0300 1234 161, or contact your youth worker.

Care and Support in Cornwall directory       

Violence and abuse

If someone is being violent or abusive towards you, you must seek help right away.

There are a number of agencies who can assist you, including perhaps finding you a safe place to go. Some of these are listed below:

  • Childline: 0800 1111 free 24 hour support helpline for children and young people
  • Womens Aid: 0808 2000 247 free 24 hour helpline for victims of domestic violence
  • Housing Options: 0300 1234 161

Here are some useful links