We understand that one of the most important decisions you have to make as you approach your 18th birthday is where you live. It is important that where you move to is safe and suitable and feels like home.
Your social worker and Personal Advisor will support you to understand the options that are available and help you decide on the best option for you.
Things to Consider……
Young people often feel that they want their own flat when they reach 18 years old and it is the law that they must be given one, this is not the case so you need to consider if having the responsibility of independent living is right for you, you will need to consider that:
You will have to pay the rent and the bills yourself either through your wages or through universal credit payments (sometimes it can be a mixture of both). Before you are 18 it is important to think about do you feel ready to live alone?; what support will you have to make sure you don’t feel lonely or isolated?; do you have the practical skills to budget your money?; do you feel able to manage tasks like cooking, cleaning and looking after yourself?
Your Social Worker/Personal Advisor can talk to you about the support that might be available depending on your choice of housing pathway.
If you are 16/17 years old, your social worker will make sure you are in safe, suitable accommodation.
If you don’t have a social worker anymore but you are under 18 we will make sure you have somewhere safe to live.
We will make sure you have safe, suitable accommodation to move into as you reach your 18th birthday. Where you live will be planned by you, your social worker and your Personal Advisor.
A staying put arrangement is for young people who live with their foster carers when you reach 18 years old. This arrangement means you can stay at home with your foster carers until you are 21 years old. For more information please speak to your social worker and/or see our Staying Put Leaflet.
You may already be with a supported lodgings provider when you reach your 18th birthday. If you want to remain, your social worker will work with you and your host to put in place a post 18- supported lodgings agreement, you can stay in supported lodgings until your 21st birthday.
Supported lodgings is a great stepping-stone to living independently, it means you live with a host/supported lodgings provider in their home, you will pay rent and bills, but have people around you, if you don’t feel ready to live on your own.
If you are currently living with your foster carer and have a disability or support needs that means it would be difficult to manage living alone without support, then Shared Lives can enable you to stay with your current foster carer. Shared Lives is available to young people who have been assessed under the Care Act 2014, you and your carer can speak to your Social Worker who will be able to give your more information.
Supported Living/Specialist Accommodation
If you are a young person with disabilities you may need an assessment under the Care Act 2014 to assess which options will best meet your needs, this could be living independently with support or accessing more specialist accommodation. Your social worker will be able to support you with the assessment and talk through your options.
Supported accommodation can be a shared house or flat, where you have your own room but share some facilities with other young people. You would develop a plan with your Personal Advisor and key worker to support you to continue to develop your independence skills until you feel ready to live more independently.
If you require supported accommodation, your Social Worker/Personal Advisor will support you to do this by referring to the Housing Gateway and supporting you through the assessment and offer process.
Social Housing Independent Tenancy
It can take a long time to be offered accommodation of your own from social landlords (this includes Nottingham City Homes and other housing associations).
Your Social Worker/Personal Advisor can support you to apply to the Housing Register when you are 17 years old, this means that when you are ready to live independently you can begin bidding for properties and building up waiting time on the register.
When you apply to the Housing Register with Nottingham City Homes you will have priority status and be given priority “banding” up to your 21st birthday.
Privately Rented Accommodation
Renting privately is where you rent directly from a landlord, this could be through directly with a landlord or through a letting’s agency.
Private rents can be high and landlords may not accept people on a low income or benefits.
Landlords can request a guarantor (someone other than yourself) who agrees to pay for any missed rent payments or damages. Nottingham City Council is unable to act as guarantor for our young people.
Private renting is not always secure with tenancy agreements reviewed every 6 or 12 months. You will usually have to pay a deposit and on top of that can be asked to pay 4 weeks rent in advance.
If you are receiving universal credit, you can still get the housing element, but you would only receive the higher rate of housing benefit (as you are a care leaver) until your 25th birthday, so it is important to be realistic if the private rent is affordable.
If you want to private rent your Social Worker/Personal Advisor will work with you to understand if a private rented property is suitable and affordable. If the rent is affordable and you want to go ahead, we can consider using your setting up home allowance to fund a deposit/rent in advance.
Sharing /Lodging with Friends/Family
It can be less lonely to share with friends and cheaper than managing a tenancy on your own. It is a good idea to have a written agreement with the people who you are living/sharing with about rent and bills, rules or responsibilities and a notice period.
If you are going to University we will support you to find accommodation whilst studying and in the vacation periods. Often Universities provide accommodation (halls of residence), or you may choose to rent privately. Your Personal Advisor will discuss the accommodation and funding options with you.
What if I think I am at risk of homelessness/I become homeless?
If you feel you are at risk of homeless, please contact your Personal Advisor as soon as possible. The Local Housing Authority (LHA) which in Nottingham City is called The Gateway, has a duty to help and advice you to prevent you becoming homeless or if you find yourself homeless.
As a care leaver you legally have a “priority need”, this will be considered if you have presented due to being at risk of homelessness/homeless. The Gateway will want to check if you have a local connection and will want to talk to you about why you have become at risk of homelessness/homeless. Whilst The Gateway carry out its assessment, they may place you in temporary accommodation. The outcome of the assessment may mean you are offered accommodation, however this does not mean you will be offered your own flat, as you may be offered other private accommodation that is available for you for 6 months or more, that would be considered suitable.
What if I think I am at risk of homelessness/I become homeless?
If you feel you are at risk of homeless, please contact your Personal Advisor as soon as possible. The Local Housing Authority (LHA) which in Nottingham City is called Housing Solutions, they have a duty to help and advice you to prevent you becoming homeless or complete an assessment with you, if you find yourself homeless.
As a care leaver you legally have a “priority need”, this will be considered if you have presented due to being at risk of homelessness/homeless. Housing Solutions will want to check if you have a local connection and will want to talk to you about why you have become at risk of homelessness/homeless. Whilst Housing Solutions carry out its assessment, they may place you in temporary accommodation. The outcome of the assessment may mean you are offered accommodation, however this does not mean you will be offered your own flat, as you may be offered other private accommodation that is available for you for 6 months or more, that would be considered suitable.
Shelter can support with any issues you are having with housing or homelessness. They can offer legal advice and help you challenge housing authorities. Go to Shelter Website
Framework is a charity delivering housing, health, employment, support and care services to people with a diverse range of needs. Go to Framework Website
Housing Aid can help you whether you are a council or private tenant or own your home and may soon lose it for whatever reason, need somewhere to live or have been made homeless. You can contact them directly by calling 0115 876 3300 or speak to your Personal Advisor. Go to Housing Aid Website
YMCA hostel provides supported accommodation for homeless people aged 18 and over. They have 98 fully furnished rooms in the City all have shared kitchens and communal rooms. Go to YMCA Website
Nottingham City Homes (NCH) manage around 27,000 homes in the city of Nottingham. If you want to find out more about the services they offer. Go to NCH Website