When leaving care, there will be a few housing options to consider depending on your individual needs.
Your choices may include:
- Staying put arrangements
- Semi independent accommodation
- Supported housing
- University accommodation
- Friends and family
- Social housing tenancy (council flat)
- Private-rented accommodation
- Living outside of Lambeth
The best thing you can do is sit and discuss all your options with your personal advisor. They may even be able to put you in contact with someone from housing for more specialist advice.
Staying put arrangements
You may already be living with a foster family. If you’re happy there, and your foster carer is in agreement, then you can continue to stay on through to the ages of 18-21. This arrangement is called staying put.
Staying put will enable you to continue your relationship with your carer. This can be better than feeling the need to rush into having your own place, particularly if you're not ready.
We will help you to decide upon an agreement with your carer which will set out:
- what support you will receive
- what is expected of you and your carer in the home
- any financial contribution from you and the leaving care team
You will usually have to claim housing benefit to help cover the costs of your rent and make a contribution towards bills.
Semi independent accommodation
This is generally shared accommodation, some of which will have staff on site 24/7. But there are also units that are standalone, with less staff support.
Many young people aged 16-18 years will either stay with their carer or move into this sort of accommodation. Remaining in this accommodation may still be an option if you are over 18 years old, but this has to be agreed with your personal advisor.
You will have access to a support worker who you will be expected to meet with regularly, and who will help you to learn essential skills for living independently. Depending on what you personally require, you may get 3, 5, 10 or more hours of 1-1 support per week.
When you turn 18, you can access supported housing, where you will be responsible for paying your own rent via wages or housing benefit.
The accommodation may be in a large hostel, but there are also some small units available.
Most services have staff on-site every day to provide young people with support. You will have access to support worker and workshops on life skills, such as budgeting and cooking.
This is a good option as a stepping stone towards finally managing your own tenancy.
If you intend on going to university, staying in halls of residence is a popular option. This type of accommodation can offer you invaluable opportunities to meet new friends and share experiences.
You’re also likely to be conveniently placed close to your lectures and social events, and well supported by the university if you need assistance.
Friends and family
Some young people chose to live with friends and family once they turn 18. This can be a big adjustment for both you and your family.
It’s important to talk this over with your personal advisor or social worker. They can help you think through the pros and cons, and consider what support might be needed if it’s the right arrangement for you.
Social housing tenancy (council flat)
Social housing is low rent accommodation that is offered on a secure basis. As a Lambeth ‘former relevant’ care leaver, you may eventually be offered priority bidding to get your own social housing tenancy.
This type of accommodation will either be a studio or one bedroom flat. You will be responsible for paying the rent, bills (such as gas and electricity), furnishing the flat (with our support) and reporting any maintenance issues.
This is a large responsibility, and you only have one chance for a priority bidding number. We need to know that you are definitely ready to manage a tenancy before we will consider making an application for you.
For some young people, the reality of being in their own flat is not as they had imagined and it can be a real struggle to keep on top of all of the demands and responsibilities. This has sadly led to some people losing their tenancy, along with any chance of being offered priority bidding again.
Accommodation can also be rented in the private-rented sector.
This will likely be shared accommodation and could be in any location either within London or outside.
You will be responsible for paying the rent charges to the landlord.
Living outside of Lambeth
If you don’t live in Lambeth, and want to stay in the area you are currently living, we will help you to explore what options are available to you.
Unfortunately, it can be difficult for young people to access social housing in some areas, and you may not be put on the council’s priority bidding list. In this case you could consider either renting privately or moving back to Lambeth for a year to book social housing here. You can then do a housing swap in the future.
Your personal advisor can help you think through the possibilities.