Housing

There are many different types of accommodation available and below is a brief summary of these. You may find yourself living in more than one kind in the future. 

You may be living in a foster placement and plan to stay beyond 18, this is known as a Staying Put arrangement. Under this arrangement, if everyone agrees, you can stay in your foster placement until you are 21. Talk to foster carers, social worker and PA if you want to think about staying put. 

You may decide to leave your placement before you are 18. You can access the supported lodgings scheme, SLS, through the 16+ team or consider supported accommodation that is available from other providers.

Cornwall Council’s local offer to care leavers undertakes to offer you advice and support to find suitable accommodation and to support you in keeping your accommodation. Click on the link to read more. 

https://www.cornwall.gov.uk/media/nqgbwqox/care-leavers-local-offer.pdf

When you are 16-18:

Supported Lodgings scheme (SLS):

This accommodation is a stepping stone to independent living. Plans are usually put in place to increase your independent living skills by giving you greater responsibility within the home. SLS provides accommodation for 16-17 year olds (or longer if you are in work or education) to young people who feel they are ready to move on from foster care. Placements are throughout Cornwall and can be within a family setting or more independent accommodation. You will be expected to do your own cooking, shopping, washing etc. There is a waiting list so speak to your Social Worker or PA about this if it’s something you would like to know more about.

Training flats 

Cornwall Council have a limited number of short term training flats for care leavers. This can help you to gain a sense of the responsibilities that comes with independent living, and also experience the reality of living alone.

Supported accommodation from external providers:

LiveWest have Foyers for 16-25 year olds at:

Liskeard

Bodmin 

Carn Brea (also has 8 emergency beds)

Truro

Redruth

Penzance (young parents)

St Austell (young parents + 1 young person bed)

 

LiveWest is commissioned accommodation for young people ages 16-25. Some of these units are single flats and others are shared accomodation. All shared flats have their own bedroom but they share facilities such as bathroom and kitchen. The flat will be furnished however you will need to purchase bedding. toiletries, cutlery, pots and pans. You can stay for up to 2 years unless you breach the license. LiveWest offer 6 months’ transitional support upon leaving the foyer. 

There is a current waiting list for the foyer – however it is not “first come first served”. If you think this may suit you speak to your social worker or PA. 

Carthew House – Young Parents

Carthew House, St Austell provides supported accommodation, 6 rooms for Young Parents and 1 room for a young person. The rooms have an ensuite bathroom with shower and also worktop with cupboard, fridge with freezer box, kettle and microwave. The communal areas are the kitchen, lounge, laundry room and a bathroom with a bath.

 Day staff generally work from 9am – 5pm and night staff work from 7pm -7am. 

You need to be staying at Carthew House for 4 nights a week as your main residence. You are only allowed people you are working with you eg your social worker or PA to visit you in the house.

The Turnaround Project is a Foyer for 16 – 25 year olds based in Newquay. 

The Turnaround Project is a Christian led organisation and it has a Zero Drugs Policy which is implemented by drug testing on assessment and sporadically whilst a young person is living at the project. The Turnaround offer transitional support to young people moving on to independent accommodation.

YMCA – Penzance 

YMCA Cornwall is an independent local charity providing supported housing for vulnerable young people aged 16 – 25 who are homeless or at risk. They have over 40 flats and bedsits. 

If you would like advice about accommodation, the first step is to see a housing advisor. Appointments can be made in person by visiting reception at YMCA Cornwall or calling 01736 334820.

Housing advice appointments are held on Wednesdays at: 
YMCA Cornwall, International House, The Orchard, Alverton Road, Penzance TR18 4TE.

YMCA Cornwall currently has a waiting list for supported accommodation. The housing advice appointment acts as a gateway to their waiting list. After this initial interview you will be informed whether your circumstances meet their referral criteria. 

Truro Young Women’s Centre (TYWC)

TYWC is commissioned accommodation and support is run by Westward Housing and supports young women between the age of 16-25. There are staff on site 24 hours a day. 

TYWC have 1 emergency bed. 

TYWC offer 6 months transitional support when moving on. They also have move on accommodation in Truro. 

Pivotal 

Pivotal has two properties in Cornwall for young people in Newquay and Redruth. This accommodation is for care leavers or those ready to move on from supported accommodation.  You must be 18+ to be referred to the Newquay Pivotal and 16+ for Redruth. 

All rooms are self-contained and come fully equipped.

All of these options should be discussed with your Social worker or PA and they can make a referral to these providers on your behalf.,

When you are over 18

Supported accommodation (from external providers) see the information above.

Housing Jigsaw Customer Portal

The Housing Jigsaw customer portal allows you to register with Cornwall Council for housing support, access a Personalised Housing Plan online, upload any documents and to contact your housing officer. This will be the central place for keeping up to date with the progress of your housing application and for you to provide updates on actions agreed with the council. 

Cornwall Council and housing association properties 

Here is a link to find out more about Cornwall Housing 

https://www.cornwallhousing.org.uk/about-cornwall-housing/

Home choice 

Homechoice is the choice based system for letting council and housing association homes to rent in Cornwall.  Your PA will help you to complete the application on line for social housing but there is a big waiting list for accommodation in Cornwall so you should not reply solely on this approach. 

Once you are registered you will be expected to bid on properties, this means indicating which properties you are interested in.

 

Private rented accommodation: 

These are rooms in shared houses or flats that are rented by private landlords. 

To find suitable private rented accommodation start with looking at letting agents, local newspapers, or online using Facebook, Cornwall Live, Zoopla, Rightmove etc.

If you are not in employment and receiving benefits, the Local Housing Allowance (LHA) entitlement is the maximum amount that you will get from benefits toward your rent. It is set by the number of bedrooms that you are deemed to need and the area which the property is in. Click on the link below 

https://www.cornwall.gov.uk/benefits-and-support/housing-benefit/local-housing-allowance

If you are looking outside of Cornwall, see the relevant local authority’s website for their LHA rates.

The figures are given weekly, and most properties rents are usually set per calendar month. To change weekly to monthly you simply multiply the weekly figure by 52 and then divide it by 12.

If the property that you find is above your applicable LHA rate, then you will need to make up the ‘shortfall’ of your rent from your other benefits.

Speak to your PA if you need help in working out what you can afford.

Types of tenancy

A tenancy agreement is a contact between you and your landlord. The tenancy agreement gives certain rights to both you and your landlord, for example your right to live in the accommodation and the landlords right to receive rent for letting the property. These agreements can be long and confusing, if you don’t understand parts of your tenancy agreement, ask for further explanation. 

There is some really useful information on the Citizens Advice Website about renting and tenancies, click on the link below 

https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/housing/renting-a-home/

Housing Benefit

You might be able to get Housing Benefit to help pay your rent if you’re on a low income or you claim benefits. Housing Benefit is paid by your local council. Most people can’t make a new claim for Housing Benefit. You may be able to make a clam if you live in temporary accommodation or your landlord is the council, a charity or housing association and they give you care or support. 

To claim housing benefit you need to be claiming other benefits and be over 18 if you are a care leaver. 

There is more information on the Citizen’s Advice website 

https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/benefits/help-if-on-a-low-income/housing-benefit/help-with-your-housing-benefit-claim/how-to-claim-housing-benefit/

If you can’t make a new claim for Housing Benefit, you might be able to apply for Universal Credit instead, click on the link below 

https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/benefits/universal-credit/before-you-apply/Check-if-you-can-get-Universal-Credit/

Rent

If you are not able to pay your rent you need to act quickly or your landlord may try to evict you. Talk to your landlord if you are having trouble paying your rent and also talk to your PA for help and advice or your local Citizen’s Advice Centre. 

Usually a landlord will ask for the first period’s rent to be paid in advance as a deposit. As a care leaver in Cornwall you are entitled to your deposit and a month’s rent being paid as part of the local offer to Care Leavers. If you are renting with a friend or a partner the council will pay half of the deposit and first month’s rent for you. Your PA will ensure that the property is suitable by undertaking a suitability check and making sure that all the paperwork is in order. The deposit must be paid into a recognised government scheme by the landlord.

When you leave your property you should get your deposit back as long as there has been no damage to the property and its contents. 

Becoming Homeless

Nobody should be facing homelessness shortly after leaving care, but more than one in four young care leavers have sofa surfed and 14 per cent have slept rough.

The combination of not being prepared to live independently, confusion about your rights and obligations, being lonely and isolated have sadly made homelessness the painful reality for too many care leavers.

If you think you are about to become homeless you need to contact your PA as soon as possible to discuss the situation.