Your PA will help you find somewhere to live when you turn 18. This could be:
- Staying with your foster carers
- Supported lodgings - this is where you live in someone's home, they provide a safe and supportive place to live; the supported lodgings host will offer emotional and practical support like cooking, budgeting to help prepare you to live independently
- Supported accommodation - (such as foyers, self-contained flats and shared houses hostel type accommodation)
- Private rented accommodation – however this tends to be an expensive option as private landlords rent their property at the market rate.
- Social housing (sometimes called Council housing), is provided by government agencies or non-profit organisations
Your PA will support you to get set up in your new home. They will help you to purchase essential items for you home, apply for benefits if you are entitled to them and help you to set up and understand the bills that you will need to pay.
Social housing in Staffordshire
There are 8 different district or borough housing authorities you can apply to live in:
- East Staffordshire
- South Staffordshire
- Staffordshire Moorlands
As a care experienced young person, you will have a local connection to every district and borough in Staffordshire up to the age of 21. So, you can apply to any of the above districts or boroughs. You might want to apply to the area you were born in or a place where you have built up links. We have built up positive working relationships within each of the district and boroughs to ensure you have a smooth transition to your own tenancy.
Depending on which area you live, you could receive support in your tenancy from your new landlord.
If you want to live outside of Staffordshire
There are some restrictions to applying for social housing out of area as you will need to have a ‘local connection’ to that area.
If you already live outside of Staffordshire, you will have local connection to the area you now live in if you have lived there for more than 2 years, including sometime before your 16th birthday. You should also have a local connection to that area if you established links there, such as going to college or in employment in that area. The housing authority will then support you to find suitable accommodation.
If you live in Staffordshire but want to move to live in an area outside of Staffordshire, this could be more complicated as you might not have local connection in the area you want to live. In some cases, you might not be able to apply for social housing and may need to look at private rented or other alternative types of accommodation. If you do want to live out of area, we have specialist housing PA’s who can give you advice about what your options are, who can advocate on your behalf and can help you to access other types of accommodation if social housing isn’t available to you.
It is important that you complete the Staffordshire Independence Programme to help prepare you to learn the skills you need to manage your own tenancy. Your PA, foster carer, residential support worker, supported lodgings host or supported accommodation support worker can help you with this.
Young people who are 18+ and at risk of homelessness
If at any time you are in risk of losing your home, you will be supported by your PA to work with your local district/borough council.
- The district/borough will assess your needs and create a personalised housing plan, which will consider any support needs you may have.
- You would be expected to attend all appointments and actively engage with the plan and the support offered.
- In most cases, you will be provided with temporary accommodation, this may not be in an area of your choice.
- If you are under 21, you should get priority banding for housing. However, this does not always apply and can depend on your circumstances. If we believe that you have not been placed into the correct housing banding, we will challenge this.
- If you are 21 or over, you may have an assessment from the district / borough council to assess if you are in priority need. If you do not agree with the decision made regarding your housing situation, you can request a review with the Housing Provider. This will need to be done in writing within 21 days of the initial decision. Your PA or our housing PA can support you with this.
- You can still claim the standard element of Universal Credit if you have 'no fixed abode' as Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) have agreed you can use the address of your local Jobcentre. If you have any problems with this, please let you PA know as soon as possible, and they can help you to access support from our Leaving Care Welfare Benefits Officer
Staffordshire County Council has 2 specialist housing personal advisors. If you are homeless or at risk of homelessness, we will allocate a housing PA to you who will advocate on your behalf to try to resolve any housing issues, and try to support you to access suitable accommodation.
Additional information for Unaccompanied Asylum-Seeking Children (UASC)
If you are unable to claim social housing because you are waiting for your decision from the Home Office and therefore have no recourse to public funds, we will provide you with accommodation until the Home Office decide on your claim. We will also provide you with a weekly allowance whilst you wait for your decision to be made.