Setting up Home
We know that finding accommodation is really difficult. We aim to support you to live independently in accommodation that meets your needs, is stable and affordable, and makes you feel safe. There are many options available and your personal adviser will support you to decide which option suits you best.
We will encourage you to stay in care until you are 18. If you decide to leave care sooner, we will make sure that you have somewhere suitable to live.
You and your personal adviser will make sure that the support that you require when you leave care and the accommodation that you choose is included your Pathway Plan.
We will help you find a home that’s right for you
We’re committed to helping you find the right place, one that you can call home. Some care leavers live in their own flats or houses, totally independently and don’t need much support from their personal adviser. Others may require more support - it all depends on your individual needs which you can discuss with your personal adviser.
We can help you stay with your foster family if that’s what you want
If you would like to carry on living with your current foster carer(s) after your 18th birthday you may have the opportunity of “Staying Put” until you are 21.
If you are still at college, 6th form or on certain training courses such as an apprenticeship when you turn 18 you can “stay put” at your foster placement until the end of the summer term after your 18th birthday. This is to help make sure your course is not disrupted by you leaving care.
Talk to your social worker, foster carer(s) and/or personal adviser if you would like to do either of the above. You can find out more about our “Staying Put Policy” here: Staying Put Policy
We’ll help you find a place to live
When you move on from foster or residential care you are likely to move into supported accommodation, which is available for 16 to 21 year-olds. Some places have staff on site 24 hours a day to help you if needed, and others have support staff that visit you in a self-contained property or a house that you would share with one or two other people.
Support staff will help you learn how to manage your money so you can pay your bills, help you understand what managing a tenancy is like, and will support you to find out about opportunities such as volunteering, training or education. If you have a child of your own we can also provide supported accommodation to meet your needs.
We will also help you to find housing in an emergency or crisis, and we will work with you to make a plan for your longer term housing.
If you are ready to move into your own place and live independently, there are a number of options for you, including “private rented” accommodation, housing associations and “social housing” managed by your local district council. Most council houses have been transferred to housing associations and is now called social housing. For example, Gedling Borough Council housing is now managed by Jigsaw Homes.
Private rented accommodation means renting your home from someone who owns a property – a landlord. They could be an individual who owns one place or a company who owns lots of properties, for example. We will help you by providing advice and guidance so you understand exactly what a tenancy is and your rights and responsibilities when renting a house in the private sector, so you get the best possible start in your new home.
We work with housing providers to help you prepare for getting your own place. This includes offering short courses on how to how to manage a tenancy. You can learn about the different types of housing available, including how to buy your own home, household bills, how to pay them and how they affect your credit score. Some of these courses are accredited and will help you when you apply for housing. Talk to your personal adviser to find out more.
You don’t have to pay council tax until you are 25
To help you with your bills, we have introduced a Council Tax Reduction Scheme, which means that once you have applied for your Council Tax Discount you will not have to pay any Council Tax until your 25th birthday. If you need any help to apply for this, please talk to your personal adviser.
We will give you priority on Nottinghamshire local authority housing waiting lists
We (Nottinghamshire’s seven district councils) have agreed that care leavers with a housing need are a priority on our waiting lists for social housing. When you apply for local authority housing in a planned way we will make you a high priority applicant so that you are offered a property quickly, ideally within 8 weeks. If you experience any delays, contact your personal adviser or the leaving care team. If you experience very long delays and/or it’s getting really hard for you to make the move into your own place, with your permission, we will organise a meeting to find a solution for you. You can come to this meeting if you want to.
As a Nottinghamshire care leaver you will be able to move to a local authority home anywhere within the county (excluding Nottingham City). So give some thought to where you would like your first independent home to be. For example, would it make sense to be close to college, work and/or friends?
We’ll support you when applying to the district council for social housing
When you apply for a home with us (through one of the seven district councils) you can choose whether you would like live on your own or to live in a shared house. If you want to live on your own, we will support you through the process of bidding for properties and provide the additional funding required to make this happen. This is called Discretionary Housing Benefit.
We’ll help you when you’re homeless
If you think you might soon have nowhere to live or you consider yourself as homeless, then contact your Personal Adviser, the Leaving Care Team or if you are over 21 years, then contact the 21Plus Service as soon as possible so that we can help you.
In certain circumstances we will pay your deposit and act as guarantor
Sometimes you need to pay a deposit when you take up a tenancy. Sometimes the landlord will want someone to act as a guarantor for the rent payments. We can support you with this if you are over 18 years old and it is part of your Pathway Plan.
We will help you move into and furnish you home so you can make it your own
We will provide practical and financial support (find out more about this in the Money section) Some social and supported housing providers offer their tenants support to help with the practical side of things, so talk to your personal adviser if this is something you are interested in.
Practical help with your home
For example if you live i in housing provided by Mansfield District Council, it will provide you with tenancy support. You can register for this when you first take on your tenancy or ask for it at any time. You can ask your personal adviser to help you do this
We will help you keep on top of your bills and rent
We understand that looking after your own home and knowing what you have to do as part of your tenancy contract can be hard. We want you to succeed and stay in your home. We can give you advice about holding down a tenancy, paying your rent and bills, making sure you are applying for all the benefits you are entitled to and helping you learn to budget/manage your money. We can arrange for your housing benefit and/or rent to be paid directly to your landlord, if this helps.
Paying bills can take some getting used to and things go wrong sometimes. If this happens, please contact your personal adviser as soon as possible so we can work together to put things right.