Where will you live?
One of the most important decisions we have to agree with you as a care leaver is where you are going to live. It is very important that wherever you live it is suitable for your needs and that we plan ahead to make sure we find the right place for you. Your social worker and personal advisor are there to help you with this, working through the options available to you and helping you to decide on what will be best for you at that time.
All plans for your accommodation will need to be included in your Pathway Plan and agreed at your reviews.
Accommodation options for 16 and 17 year olds
While you are 16 or 17 there will be no expectation or pressure for you to move from a foster placement or residential care. Accommodation options include:
- Foster care
- Residential care
- Your family
- Supported accommodation (perhaps a share house or flat, where you have your own room but share some facilities with out young people and receive support from a housing support officer)
- Specialist accommodation (e.g. a residential school)
Accommodation options for 18 year olds
It is important that we plan for where you will live when you are 18 and ensure we work with you and your carers to prepare for this.
Your options include:
- Staying put (if you are in a foster placement and want to stay there after you turn 18, as long as both you and your foster carer agree, and you are engaged in education, employment or training, then we will support you to remain there)
- Semi-independent accommodation (perhaps a shared house or flat, where you have your own room but share some facilities with other young people and receive support from a housing support officer)
- Specialist accommodation – the Home Improvement Agency can organise aids and adaptions to accommodation where the household has disability needs
- Independent accommodation (e.g. council flat or private rented) – this would require additional agreement from the Trust to help with a deposit and rent in advance which, if agreed, would come from your setting up home allowance.
- Your family
Slough Borough Council gives an additional preference to housing for those preparing to leave care. The Trust will ensure that you are added to the housing register once you turn 16, with the ambition that when you turn 18, and if you are ready to manage an independent tenancy, you will be offered appropriate independent accommodation. As a care leaver you will be exempt from paying council tax up to the age of 25.
If you are working, you will need to pay all or some of your rent, depending on how much you earn. If you are not earning much money, your social worker or PA can help you to apply for universal credit to help with your rent. If you are struggling to pay your rent it is important you talk to you social worker, PA or housing officer as soon as possible so they can work to help you stay in your home.
Moving to live on your own is a massive step, and it’s not just about paying bills and cooking your own food; it’s also about staying healthy and getting on with your neighbours! Slough Borough Council’s Young People’s Service (YPS) will work with you to learn the skills you need to succeed in your new accommodation and prepare for independence. Slough Borough Council Neighbourhood Services can also provide advice through their tenancy sustainability officers to ensure that you are able to manage any council tenancy you might hold.
The Trust also has some funding to help you set up your new home and buy essential items. The maximum amount the Trust will pay is £2,000, although this amount may vary depending on the type of accommodation you are moving into.
Essential items include:
- Bed and mattress
- Storage for clothing e.g. wardrobe, chest of drawers
- Sofa or armchair
- Table and chairs
- Fridge and cooker
- Carpets or rugs
- Beddings and towels
- Lamp and lampshades
- Cutlery, crockery, cooling utensils and kettle
- Iron and ironing board
- Mop, broom, dustpan and brush, vacuum cleaner (if you have carpets) and a bin
- Washing bowl and dish drainer
Before you buy anything you should discuss with your social worker or personal advisor and you will need to produce receipts for each item. The Trust can order furniture and household items on your behalf to help you get the best deals.
You can also access the local welfare provision via Slough Borough Council and use this support to pay for essential items such as fridge, cooker and bed.
If your plans include moving into independent accommodation outside of Slough, the council’s Housing department can help with organising a move into private sector accommodation, subject to an incentive payment by the Trust. You can discuss this with your social worker and PA as you develop your Pathway Plan.
If you are in prison or a young offenders’ institution your welfare benefits will stop. The Trust can provide you with up to £20 per month for toiletries and phone cards. This will be paid by cheque to the Governor with your name on the reverse. The Trust will also ensure that you are visited regularly and help you to plan for when you leave prison/institution. While you are in custody, we can also support you to store your belongings, although we would not be liable for any loss or damage during this period.