Moving towards independent living can be scary for young people, especially those leaving care.
We aim to make this process as smooth as possible with support from your social worker and personal adviser (PA).
We'll discuss what housing is most appropriate for you. This is important so we can find accommodation that will best support your move into your own home.
We'll work with you and other agencies to make sure you're well prepared for independent living. These plans will be included in your pathway plan.
The Specialist Housing Advisor in the service can offer extra advice and guidance about your housing options and how to navigate the processes.
They can also provide workshops on
To find out more, please contact your PA or the duty email or phone number.
Finding a home
We'll make sure you have suitable accommodation between the ages of 18 and 21. There are different types of housing available and we'll help you find the right housing option for you.
We aim to help you find a home where you feel comfortable, safe and secure. We'll also help you to get all your necessary identity documents.
Once you're over 18, you are usually financially responsible for your accommodation and day to day living costs:
- Your personal adviser should provide you with information and advice around your accommodation and finances, such as budgeting, setting up bills, applying for benefits and how to arrange a tenancy.
- You are entitled to a ‘setting up home allowance’, which is usually around £2,000 (or £3,000 if you turned 18 after 1 May 2023). This is for you to spend on things like furniture and essentials for your home.
- If you are aged 18, 19 or 20 and become homeless, you will automatically have a ‘priority need’ when applying as homeless to housing. If you are 21 or over, you may still have a ‘priority need’ if you are applying as homeless depending on your circumstances.
- You are exempt from the shared accommodation rate up until the age of 25.
Support from your personal adviser
If you're over 18 your personal adviser will help you with:
- working with housing services to come up with suitable housing options for you, such as social housing or a foyer
- remaining with your foster carers in a staying put arrangement, up to the age of 21
- looking into different housing options such as private renting or living with a family member
- your tenancy, including how to avoid getting behind in your rent payments, paying for bills and budgeting
- practical support with moving into and furnishing and equipping your new home and access to the setting up home allowance. You will be practically supported to set up gas and electric in your new home
- a 'starter pack'. When you move into your own accommodation for the first time you can be provided with a starter pack up to the value of £50. Examples of items that should be contained in the starter pack are:
- basic food essentials such as milk, bread, margarine, powdered milk, crisps, biscuits, tea, coffee, cereal, cup a soup, 4 cans of beans
- cleaning materials such as washing powder, general purpose cleaner, washing-up liquid, washing-up cloths, window cleaner
- toiletries such as toilet tissue, toothpaste, shower or bath gel and deodorant
- the cost of your first TV licence
- getting contents insurance to protect your possessions
- if you live in Medway and evidence you are a care leaver you'll be exempt from paying Council Tax. If you live outside Medway, your PA can support you with confirming what support there is for Council Tax payments
- claiming Housing Benefit or Universal Credit
- a housing crisis, including helping if you're threatened with losing your tenancy, or if you have lost it. You will also have access to the specialist housing adviser in the 16+ Service.
See some of the different housing options below.
If you’re living with a foster family, it might be possible to agree on an arrangement where you can stay with them after you turn 18.
The Shared Lives Scheme can help young people with a disability who want to continue living in the care of a friendly and mature carer. You'll also need to meet the adult services criteria for Shared Lives.
There is a supported lodgings scheme in Medway where you can live with a family in their home.
The family will be able to support you with learning to live independently.
If you cannot stay in your current home when you turn 18 but you need continued support to prepare for living independently you could live in supported accommodation.
You may decide to live in a shared house or flat with other people. This can be a good option if you want to live with people you know and share the costs.
Private rented properties are advertised through private letting agents. If you want to rent privately you'll be responsible for managing your tenancy and paying the bills.
You can register for social housing when you turn 17. This is a long process and you're not guaranteed a home.
Living with friends or family
You may decide to live with family, friends or a partner. We'll support you in your decision and advise you on the best options for you.
If you go to university you can get a loan to help pay for your accommodation.
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