As part of your preparation for adult life, you will be supported by your Personal Advisor to complete a Social Housing Application or to secure private rented accommodation in line with your wishes and your Pathway Plan. We will offer you support to make a housing benefit claim, universal credit claim or to access the Local Housing Allowance if in private rented accommodation. We will help you feel secure and supported, carefully planning the move to your new home to ensure it is the right time for you. It is important to note that young people under 25 are normally only entitled to rent payments equivalent to the cost of a room in a shared house. Care Experienced Young People between 18 and 21 can get the rate for 1-bedroom accommodation, but you can only get the shared accommodation amount once you turn 22. Bear this in mind if you are moving into a new home and think that you will continue to claim benefits after 22.
If you are between 18 and 20 years old, you receive 'priority need' for housing as a Care Experienced Young Person and your local connection (where you apply for housing) is the Local Authority that owes you leaving care duties. If you normally live in a different area and have for 2 or more years (even before 16 years), you will also have a local connection in that area. If you are 21 years or over, you only have a 'priority' need for housing if you are very vulnerable, and a local connection is not guaranteed.
You may be eligible for financial support with accommodation:
- Up to £2,000 setting-up home grant for necessary furniture and items. Plus, extra for curtains/flooring. Ask your Personal Advisor for details.
- In private rentals, first deposit and first month rent advance by our Access to Resources Team.
- Potential support with storage while at University or out of long-term stable accommodation – speak to your Personal Advisor about availability.
- If you were previously in care in Merton and are still living in the borough, we will pay your Council Tax - you will need to bring your bill to your Personal Advisor.
Before your long-term housing is sorted, a range of options are available for Care Experienced Young People:
- Staying put in foster care. Voluntary agreement between you and your foster carer. You should apply for housing costs with tenancy agreement, must apply for benefits (subsistence) if eligible to receive them, and need your Staying Put assessment signed by the Head of Service.
- Supported lodgings. Ideal stepping stone between foster care and living independently in your own tenancy. You need to be able to be a lodger, but floating support can be commissioned if needed. You must complete your 'Passport to my Home' and pay housing costs with benefits / income.
- Housing nomination and offer. You have completed your 'Passport to my Home' and are able to have a tenancy. Those under 21 years old or who are very vulnerable are prioritised so apply as soon as possible after 18 years old. You need your housing nomination form signed by a Team Manager.
- Live with friends / family. If you choose to live with your family or friends, you should apply to Housing for emergency/temporary arrangements, particularly if you are under 21. If you are over 21 years old, you are unlikely to meet housing priorities unless vulnerable.
- Private tenancy. Suitable if you are seeking independence and able to maintain a tenancy. You have completed your 'Passport to my Home' and are able to have a tenancy. The first month’s rent and deposit can be provided to support access. Ensure that all checks are done, and that the tenancy is safe and suitable.
- Shared Lives. Suitable if you have extra needs and require in-house support. Ideal if you are not likely to be ready for housing for some time due to your vulnerabilities. Suitable support with independent living skills and moving into long term housing. You need a referral and must pay housing costs with benefits / income if eligible.
- 5 hours of support. A good stepping stone between foster care and achieving your own tenancy. Only suitable for young people who require key work support and are unable to receive their own tenancy, either social or private. Not suitable for anyone over 21 years old. Needs Head of Service approval – with rationale of need for semi-independent accommodation and why other options are discounted. You must access key work support, complete your 'Passport to my Home' and pay housing costs with benefits / income if eligible or step down will be given notice.
- 15 hours of support. Only with Head of Service approval – with rationale of need for key work support and why other options are discounted. Not suitable for anyone over 20 years old. You must access key work support, complete your “Passport to my Home” and pay housing costs with benefits / income if eligible or step down will be given notice.
- 24 hours support Only with Head of Service approval - only if absolutely necessary to keep you safe from harm. A referral to Adult Social Care would need to be made to ensure you have the right support in place. Not suitable for anyone over 19 years old. You must access key work support, complete your 'Passport to My Home' and pay housing costs with benefits / income or step down will be given notice.
You can find out more about securing housing on the Merton Website