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Training and resources for professionals

Homeless prevention for 16 and 17 year olds

Our duties

Children’s Services and local housing authorities have statutory duties to young people, and other statutory and voluntary agencies provide a range of services to them.

In Devon there’s a shared protocol agreed between Devon County Council and the eight local housing authorities (East Devon District Council, Exeter City Council, Mid Devon District Council, North Devon District Council, South Hams District Council, Teignbridge District Council, Torridge District Council and West Devon Borough Council).

The purpose of this protocol is to ensure that the partners within Devon continue to work together to provide a consistent and coordinated response to 16 and 17 year old young people who present as homeless and are in need of housing, or housing-related support.

It promotes the safeguarding and wellbeing of the young person to prevent homelessness, returning young people to their family wherever possible.

The protocol outlines service expectations in relation to how partners respond to young people aged 16 and 17 years old and aspires to achieve a set of coordinated services which set out a ‘Positive Pathway’ in Devon for this group of young people.

Duty to refer

Certain specified public authorities have a duty to refer individuals to the local authority if they have reason to believe someone may be homeless or threatened with homelessness. Those subject to this duty include:

  • Prisons
  • Youth offenders institutions
  • Secure training centres
  • Secure colleges
  • Youth offending team
  • Probation services Job centre plus
  • A&E
  • Urgent treatment centre
  • Hospitals
  • Social service authorities

Consent must be gained from the individual before referral, however, as it may involve a relocation to a different local authority with which the individual has had previous links. As a result, it is important that the individual is informed at all times of what a referral may mean to them in practical terms.

Housing advice

Housing advice teams are located in every district across the country and work to prevent people from becoming homeless, support people to resolve any difficulties people may have with their housing situation and work with those who are currently homeless or rough sleeping to support them to find accommodation.

A one-minute guide to housing advice can be found here.

If you are worried about the safety or wellbeing of a child or young person in Devon,
please complete the request for support online form.


If you think that the child is at risk of significant harm,
contact our Front Door directly by calling 0345 155 1071.


In an emergency call 999.