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Housing advice for young people

Housing advice if you are 16 or 17

I’m at risk of being homeless

If you are at risk of becoming homeless, phone or visit a social worker from Children’s Services Single Point of Advice (SPOA)

  • Telephone: 01323 464 222

East Sussex County Council
St Mark’s House
14 Upperton Road
Eastbourne BN21 1EP.

East Sussex County Council
Ocean House
87–89 London Road
St Leonards
TN37 6DH

What you tell us will be confidential, and we will only pass it on if we think you are in danger.

Emergency help

If you can’t go home and it’s the weekend or at night, the best thing to do is find a friend or relative you can stay with.

In an emergency you can contact the East Sussex Emergency Duty Service on

  • Telephone: 01273 335 905

A social worker will phone you back and advise you what to do.

Working things out with your parents

Once you’ve contacted Children’s Services the first thing that we will always do is to help you try and work things out with parents. This is called mediation and is often really helpful when things have got a bit out of hand at home.

Living with other members of your family

If you’re not able to return home for whatever reason we may try bringing together other members of your family to see if we can arrange a safe place for you to live with them.

If you can’t return home or live with a family member

If you can’t return home or live with family, you may find yourself with a choice to make. Children’s Services may have decided that you can become what we call ‘looked after’ or ‘in care’. However, if you don’t want to be looked after there is still a lot of help and support you can get from us.

What if I choose to be looked after?

If you choose to be looked after you will get a social worker who will help and support you. Together with your social worker you will agree a ‘Pathway plan’.

This means you will agree what help and support you need. This will include:

  • somewhere to live
  • support with other areas of your life, like depression or school
  • help accessing other services like the Substance Misuse Team

Will I get benefits?

You will not get benefits unless you are a young parent or have a disability or ill health. Children’s Services will provide you with enough money to meet your needs.

You will not be entitled to Housing Benefit until you are 18 even if you are a lone parent or a young person with a disability.

If you are earning you may have to contribute towards your rent.

Where will I live if I choose to be looked after?

It depends on what your needs are, but we will find you a place to live:

  • with a foster carer
  • with a supported lodgings provider
  • in supported accommodation, or
  • in semi-independent accommodation, in exceptional circumstances

What if I choose not to be looked after?

If you choose not to be looked after you will get a different type of support, but you will still get support. As a child in need you will get a social worker who will work with you to agree a support plan.

This means you will both agree what support and help you need and it will include:

  • somewhere to live
  • help applying for benefits
  • help accessing other services like the Substance Misuse Team

Where will I live if I choose not to be looked after?

We will find you a place to live, either:

  • with a supported lodgings provider
  • in supported accommodation or
  • in semi-independent accommodation, in exceptional circumstances

Housing advice if you are 18 or over

I’m 18 or over and I’ve got nowhere to live – where can I go for help?

If you are 18 or over and are at risk of homelessness you should contact the housing team of your local district or borough council. They can give you advice and help you to find somewhere to live. Contact them Monday to Friday, 9am – 5pm.

To find your nearest office, go to:

The Housing Options Team can refer you to  BHT Sussex for housing support:

For more information, please visit the website of:

Housing support for disabled or vulnerable adults

Find out about supported housing for working age adults with a physical or learning disability, mental health problems or a condition that makes them vulnerable. 

Sheltered housing scheme run by local district or borough councils or a housing association support adults with disabilities. 


Find a place to live

Moving out of home is a big step. It is expensive and it may take you a while to find somewhere.

Renting

If you rent a room, flat or house you will pay rent to a private landlord or estate agent, usually a month in advance. You can find details of properties to rent at:

  • Local estate agents
  • Local newspapers

Also on the website:

Can I get housing benefit to cover my rent?

If you are on housing benefit, you can claim benefits to cover the rent of a room in a shared house or flat until you are 35.

You cannot claim housing benefit to cover the cost of a one bedroom rented flat
unless:

  • you are a care leaver age up to 25 year's old
  • you are living as a couple
  • you are severely disabled, or
  • you are responsible for a child

The amount of housing benefit you are entitled to is different in each local authority area. You can use the link to find out how much Housing Benefit you will get in your area: 

Social or ‘council’ housing

Social housing, often known as ‘council’ housing, is housing that is affordable to people on low incomes. It is provided by councils and not-for-profit organisations such as housing associations.

The waiting time for social housing varies across East Sussex. It will also depend on your situation – you will be put in band A, B, C or D – and the length of time you have been registered. Realistically you could wait quite a while. For example, the average waiting time for someone in Band C waiting for a one bedroom flat in Hastings is 16 months. For accurate waiting times and to register for social housing:

Buying a flat or house

If you are thinking about buying a property, you will need to discuss your options and how you will meet the repayments on any mortgage with your bank, financial adviser or estate agent.


Leaving home

Having your own space with no parents to tell you what to do may sound like great fun, but the reality can be very different. Here are some things to think about before you make the decision to leave home.

How much will it cost?

Living on your own is very expensive. Some of the costs of living on your own include:

  • rent
  • food and drink
  • gas, water and electricity
  • council tax
  • TV licence
  • broadband and phone line
  • toiletries and cleaning products

Will you still be able to afford to go out or buy new clothes if you have all these things to pay for?

You may need to buy furniture if this is the first time you have lived on your own.

If you are planning on moving into your own flat or house you will also need to provide a deposit and the first month’s rent up front – have you saved up for this?

Looking after yourself

Living on your own also means looking after yourself. Can you shop for food and cook? Can you wash and iron your clothes and do the washing up?

Before you leave, stop and ask yourself, ‘Would I be able to look after myself if I lived on my own?’

How will I know when it’s the right time to leave?

It’s not a good idea to leave on the spur of the moment or in the heat of an argument.

The best time to leave home is always when you are ready, have made plans and have support from your friends/family to move back if it goes wrong.

Think carefully about where you want to live and if you have any specific needs like living on the ground floor or near a bus route. Moving out is a huge decision to make.


Housing advice if you are under 16

I’m under 16 and I want to leave home – where can I go for help?

If you’ve had an argument with your family and are worried that you will have to leave home it can be a frightening time. Whatever your situation is, you can get help from the Children’s Services team at East Sussex County Council.

Phone or visit your local East Sussex County Council office and tell them that you are under 16 and need some help as you are at risk of becoming homeless:

If you are at risk of becoming homeless, phone or visit a social worker from Children’s Services Single Point of Advice (SPOA) 

  • Telephone: 01323 464 222

East Sussex County Council
St Mark’s House
14 Upperton Road
Eastbourne BN21 1EP.

East Sussex County Council
Ocean House
87–89 London Road
St Leonards
TN37 6DH

What you tell us will be confidential, and we will only pass it on if we think you are in danger.

I’m already homeless – what can I do?

It’s not too late to see someone for help. Phone or visit a social worker at the Council and they will give you support and advice. See above for details of where to go.

What help can I expect?

The help you get will depend on your personal situation. Your parents or carers have responsibility for you, so most of the time we will try to help you return home. We will do this by using ‘mediation’, which is where we try and help sort out problems that you have with your parents or carers. We also help make sure that the same problems don’t come back again.

What if I can not resolve the problems with my family?

If we can’t help sort out the problems with your family, or if you are at risk of violence if you do go home, the social worker will look at other options. These may include:

  • living with a foster family
  • having a ‘family group conference’ to bring together parents, extended family and significant others and find a solution to stop you becoming homeless