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Accommadation

 

As a Care Leaver, we want to ensure that you have accommodation that suits your needs. We will do our best to make sure that this is in the area that you would like to live and, if you are moving, that you are not disrupted in your education. Most importantly, we will make sure that this accommodation is safe and maintained to a good standard and the staff or carers are able to offer you the support you need.

 

 


 

Suitable accommodation.

All young people, including asylum seekers who have gained ‘status’ will be expected to pay for their accommadation through either working or claiming benefits. Your Personal Adviser or Social Worker will help you to find suitable accommodation. This might involve:

  • Supporting you to remain with your foster carers under what’s called a ‘Staying Put’ arrangement if this is what you and your foster carers want. This can last until you are ready to move on to independence, or are 21

  • Working with Housing Services to find suitable housing options for you, including supported accommodation if you are not ready for, or don’t want, your own tenancy.

  • Support to access different housing options including social housing (this is accommodation managed by the Council or a housing association)

  • Practical support with moving into, and furnishing, your new home.

  • Supporting you if you have a housing crisis, including help if you are at risk of losing, or lose, a tenancy

  • If you are attending university, arranging somewhere for you to live in the holiday breaks.

 


 

Young people seeking asylum.

If you are still waiting for a decision from the Home Office and do not have ‘status’ within the UK, you are not entitled to claim benefits and may be limited on how much you are able to work, so that you would be unable to pay for your own accommodation. Your Personal Adviser or Social Worker will help you to find suitable accommodation. This might involve:

  • Supporting you to remain with your foster carers under what’s called a ‘Staying Put’ arrangement if this is what you and your foster carers want. This can last until you are ready to move on to independence, or are 21.

  • Negotiating with your current accommodation to allow you to stay there after your 18th birthday.

  • Support to access different housing options such as hostels or shared houses in the area.

  • Practical support with moving into, and furnishing, your new home.

  • Supporting you if you have a housing crisis, including help if you are at risk of losing, or lose, your accommodation

 


 

Setting Up Home Allowance

When you first move into your own place, there is bound to be stuff you need and we can provide you with a ‘setting up home allowance’ to help you get started. The money would be held by your Personal Adviser/Social Worker and they will help you work out what to buy to ensure that, when you move into independent or semi-independent accommodation, you have appropriate equipment and household items.

When you move into semi-independent accommodation you can also request a ‘Love to Shop’ Voucher to buy bedding and kitchen equipment, plus a small television and initial TV licence. You will then be responsible for buying licences for subsequent yearsOnce you get your own place the allowance can be used for essential items of furniture, ‘white goods’, carpet in two rooms and a rent deposit.

Examples of what you might need when you move into semi-independent accommodation include:

  • Saucepan set

  • Baking trays

  • 2 sets of bedding

  • Duvet and 2 pillows

  • 2 sets of towels

  • Kettle and toaster

 

 


 

Young Parents

The care leaver’s setting up home allowance cannot normally be used for baby equipment. Your Personal Adviser will discuss with you what accommodation options are suitable for you.  This can depend on the amount of help you might need when your baby is very little. Options may include a mother and baby foster placement, a place in a specialist mother and baby hostel or your own accommodation.

If you live in Cambridge or South Cambridgeshire you can access the Young Parents project at Romsey Mill. Telephone Romsey Mill on 01223 566021.This includes-

  • Home visits and one to one support

  • Antenatal classes tailored for young mums and dads

  • Postnatal groups for peer support and child development

  • Courses such as the Arts Award, literacy and numeracy

  • Support to move on to further training, education, employment

  • Support to integrate into local community groups

 


 

Accommadation Options

 

Housing is usually handled by the district councils rather than the county council. Each District will have a slightly different approach to the way they deal with accommodation. For further information on accommodation available in each of the five districts you might want to look at their accommodation websites

 


Supported Lodgings

This is where you would have your own room in a private house and would live as a part of the household, but you would not be expected to join in with everything like a member of the family. Financial arrangements are similar to Staying Put and you would be expected to contribute £34.33 per week for living there.


Break – Staying Close, Staying Connected

Break is a charity working to provide accommodation for young people preparing to leave care. Particularly for those transitioning from a children’s home. They can provide a moving-on house, as well as intensive tenancy support to help you develop key life skills before having to move on and be completely independent. Break will also seek to encourage you to develop your employability skills so that you might find it easier to get a job or start studying. If you’d like more information talk to your Personal Advisor.


Semi-Independence

Supported accommodation is provided by a number of different organisations within Cambridgeshire and is generally for young people aged 16-25. This could be a hostel, shared house or self-contained flat. Some accommodation is staffed 24 hours a day. You would have your own furnished room as a minimum but would normally be expected to share some facilities such as bathrooms, kitchens, lounges and laundry. You will usually be offered support by a key worker who you will meet regularly to discuss how you are getting on. You will be expected to make a contribution towards your rent depending upon your income and will claim the housing benefit element of Universal Credit to cover the rest of your rent.


Social Housing

When you are ready to manage your own accommodation you can register for social housing. Your current accommodation provider or your Personal Adviser/Social Worker will support you to do this.

Homelink is the choices-based letting scheme for council and housing association properties across Cambridgeshire and West Suffolk. Once you have completed your online application you will be given a banding and bidding number and you can then bid on appropriate properties in the area you would like to live. There is a shortage of council and housing association properties across Cambridgeshire so you may have to wait a long time before being successful.


Private Renting  

If you rent privately you may be eligible for a rent deposit from your local council or from your ‘setting up home allowance’. You should discuss your options with your Personal Adviser / Social Worker. Some landlords will only rent to people who are working. You will usually be asked to sign a tenancy for 6 or 12 months. If you are eligible, you can still get the housing element of Universal Credit if you rent privately but you would only receive the (care leaver) higher rate of housing benefit up to your 22nd birthday, so it is important to be realistic about how much you can afford.

If you are looking for a room in a shared house or flat try www.spareroom.co.uk


Moving back to live with family

Some young people decide to return home to family or relatives once they are 18 or over.  If you are considering doing this you should talk it over with your Personal Adviser/Social Worker and other adults you trust first.

It is important not to rush into anything and to consider why it was that you were not able to live at home when you were younger and whether it would be safe/suitable in future.

If you do return to live with your family, your Personal Adviser will continue to visit you and support you for at least 6 months after you return home to check all is going well. Once you have been home 6 months you will become a ‘Qualifying’ young person. This means that you can still contact the Leaving Care Service for advice and support but you would not be entitled to any financial assistance.  


Homeless  

If you are over 18 and become homeless or are at risk of homelessness you need to make an appointment with the District Council where you have a local connection. This may not be the area where you are living at the moment. Your Personal Adviser will be able to help you identify where you have a local connection.

Your local council has an obligation to assess your case and should provide you with temporary accommodation for a period of up to 28 days while they make this assessment. When doing this they may wish to speak to your previous landlord to better understand your current situation.

If they find you are ‘intentionally homeless’ then they do not have any further obligation to provide you with accommodation. Intentionally homeless means that you could have avoided becoming homeless. Your local council does not have to help you if you left suitable accommodation you could have stayed in or if you had to leave because of something you did or failed to do. The local council should still offer housing advice.

While your Personal Adviser/Social Worker will support you in such circumstances, Social Care are not responsible for providing accommodation for Care Leavers over the age of 18.

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