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Accommodation

We recognise that where you live, and feeling safe in your home is important. If there are times that you are moving, we will help you to prepare and explain what your options are each step of the way.

We can support you with applying for housing with the council and you will be entitled to Priority Banding on the Housing Register which means that you will be given more focus when you need accommodation.

We have a duty to provide you with accommodation until you are 18 and once you become an adult we will instead help you to find and manage suitable and safe accommodation.

There are a range of different options for accommodation which include Foster Care, Residential Homes, Supported Lodgings, Staying Put with your Foster Carer’s once you are 18 (more details below), Supported Accommodation Provisions and Independent Living.

Our 2 Accommodation Officers may help you look at your options taking into account your needs and wishes, support you to manage living independently and develop your skills.

What help will I get with developing independent living skills?

We can give you advice and guidance on how to develop your independent living skills within your home. Your foster carer, supported lodgings provider or staff will also be able to help you practically and through advice.

One of our Accommodation Officers also runs an ASDAN Independence Programme. This is an accredited award that you can gain a qualification from. It will develop your skills and help you prepare for living independently – this can also help you when applying for your own housing.

If you are interested in ASDAN, please speak to your worker who can refer you to our Accommodation Officer.

You can also look at the website below, which has lots of advice and resources to help you develop your independence skills.

https://www.preparingforadulthood.org.uk/

What if I want to leave care before the age of 18?

Some young people leave their care placements (foster care / residential) before they turn 18 for a variety of reasons. If you are on a Care Order you would remain looked after and if you are Section 20 Accommodated, we would need Senior Management agreement to end your looked after status.

If you are looking at some of the semi-independent options before you turn 18 we would help you in this move – our support to you won’t change and you will continue to be eligible for care leaver support until the age of 25.

If you return home to family, we will keep this under review for 6 months and then see if you and your family still need our support.

What if I live in residential care?

If you live in residential care, we will begin discussing your move-on options when you are around 17. This then gives us all time to plan the right steps, and do some work to help prepare you.

Many young people move from residential care to Supported Lodgings or Supported Accommodation and we will spend time looking around and meeting different providers.

Residential staff will focus on your independence skills during this planning time and once you leave, they will keep in touch with you.

The local authority’s residential homes also regularly use our trainer flats so please do ask about these if you are interested.

What is Staying Put?

We know that if you have been in a settled foster home, the best plan may be for you to remain living there when you reach the age of 18, until you have finished education or achieved other goals that will help you move smoothly to adulthood and independence.

If you remain living with carers this may be possible if your carers are willing and able to have you continuing to live with them and there is a need for you to stay there. If this is decided you may be able to stay living there for up to 3 years. This is called “Staying Put” arrangements where your foster carers will convert and become supported lodgings providers.

What are supported lodgings?

If it is not possible for you to stay with your carer, but you feel you are not ready to move into your own place, your pathway worker will discuss what options are available and plan the next steps with you.

It may be that other supported lodgings placements are available. This means living in a family home with the additional support that comes with being part of a family.

We offer this so that it gives you the chance to prepare gradually for moving into independent living. We aim to do all we can so that you can make a successful transition.

What are Pathway Team trainer flats?

The Pathway Team has a number of trainer flats in Bridlington and Beverley. You may be able to have a stay in one of these as a ‘practice run’ before taking up your own tenancy or to develop your independence skills. This will help you to understand what it is like to live on your own and what you have to do – things like putting on gas and electricity.

We will offer you support with the Accommodation Officer who will be able to show you how to develop your cooking skills and budget your money so that you can afford to live independently.

We also use the flats regularly for our Come and Cook group and for the ASDAN Independence work.

What are my housing options?

When you feel you are ready to move into your own accommodation we can help support you in completing a housing form with the council. The Accommodation Officer will go through the process with you as it may vary in different areas with different councils.

There are also supported housing options around the area and we can help you look into these options and take you for a look around. We will then refer you if this is the right option for you and support you at any interviews.

Another route is to privately rent accommodation through private landlords. This route can be more expensive and would usually be identified to those that are working and could afford a higher rent. They usually ask for a bond – in case there is any damage - and at least one month’s rent in advance of you moving into the property.

Some landlords may also charge an ‘Administration fee’ this could be in the excess of £100 before you pay your deposit and up-front rent. Administration fees are often used to do a credit check - this could be to see if you are a suitable tenant and if you owe any money to other landlords or housing providers. Should you fail the check you will lose the administration fee.

Landlords may ask for a Guarantor – this is someone who would be willing to guarantee they will pay any damages or unpaid rent if these arise. They may ask that this be someone who owns their own property. The Pathway Team cannot act as a guarantor.

There may be times when you and your worker disagree on your readiness for moving into independence – if this happens please do listen to their worries and we would encourage you to meet with our Accommodation Officers to see what extra support can be provided to help you be more ready. Living alone can be hard and we would always want this to happen at the right time for you.

Do I have to pay Council Tax?

Nationally everyone now has to make a contribution to their Council Tax. If you are on a very low income this will usually be 20%. As a Care Leaver you may be exempt from paying this contribution depending on your circumstances. Our Accommodation Officer can look in to this for you.

You can also get council tax exemption if you are a full time student here is what the criteria is for you to be exempt

To count as a full-time student, your course must:
•last at least 1 year
•involve at least 21 hours study per week

If you study for a qualification up to A level and you’re under 20, your course must:
•last at least 3 months
•involve at least 12 hours study per week

For this you will need to apply for exemption, if you need support with this contact your worker or the accommodation officer to help.

Can I get an allowance for setting up my home?

There is a setting up home allowance for when you move into independent living. This allowance is accessed as and when you are assessed as needing part of it. It’s used to buy ‘necessary’ items for your new home. This allowance may be given to you in goods (washing machine, cooker, bed etc) through orders to different shops (Argos, Ikea, Bonus Electrical, B&M Bargains, Tesco) or you may go out with your worker to purchase different items. We will also pay your first years TV Licence.

Buying second hand goods (but not second hand electrical items) may get you better quality furniture and soft furnishings at a cheaper price. Looking at buying items on special offer or waiting for sales can help too. Use websites such as Freecycle and Preloved to see what items they have and make your allowance go further!

https://www.freecycle.org/

https://www.preloved.co.uk/

Can I get any help with benefits?

Moving over to receiving benefits can be complicated at first. There are more details on Income Support and Job Seekers Allowance in the Money section.

Your worker will support you through making benefit applications, attending first appointments, managing your claim and resolving any problems.

It is really important that you attend your appointments and tell us about any problems as soon as they happen.

Our Accommodation Officer will be on hand to help you with benefits relating to your accommodation such as; housing benefit and council tax.

For online benefit advice and information;

https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/benefits/

https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/benefits/benefits-introduction/what-benefits-can-i-get/

http://www.adviceuk.org.uk/looking-for-advice/other-sources-of-advice/benefits-advice/

https://www.gov.uk/browse/benefits

What and who will help me with moving into accommodation?

Support!!

We can’t mention it enough but having the right support and keeping in regular contact with us can really help you with any future moves.

It may not always seem a priority but doing some work on your independence skills early on can make a real difference when you later start living on your own.

As a team we support our young people with planned, and unplanned moves so if your worker is involved in any accommodation changes, they will look at how to support this happening.

Can I get support with my tenancy?

Our Accommodation Officer can provide regular tenancy support when you first move into your own home. This can be around helping you to manage your bills, budget, do some cooking and check on your wellbeing.

You can always request tenancy support through your worker, who will refer you to our Accommodation Officer. We encourage all of our young people to take up this extra support when you first move out – it can really help!

Some supported accommodation providers also have their own tenancy support. Attending these sessions might be part of your tenancy agreement, which means you have to do them. Don’t see this as a negative, most of our young people get a lot out of this!

What if it all goes wrong?

Sometimes things can go wrong. This could be for many different reasons. If something goes wrong in your accommodation we will help you try and sort this out. If this isn’t possible, we would instead help you to look at some of the options detailed above.

At times we all need a second chance and we understand that. If you have had some difficult times, ask us about the different options, including Supported Lodgings – even if you have been in this before. Second chance supported lodgings can give you just what you need to get back on your feet.