Homelessness and Emergency Housing
Housing Information for Care Leavers
If you are a care leaver where you can get help from depends on your age and circumstances.
- If you are 16 or 17, it is The Children’s Services team who are responsible for finding you somewhere to live until you turn 18. They are from Lancashire County Council and the contact number is 0300 123 6720.
- If you are a former care leaver (under 25) who is a student and can’t find accommodation out of term time you can approach The Children’s Services team for help (see number above.)
- If you are 18, 19 or 20 year old homeless care leaver/threatened with homelessness, the Council’s housing needs team must help.
- If you are a care leaver age 21+ you can approach the Council’s housing needs team for help.
If you are 18+ please fill out the Housing Assitance Referral Form. We can then assess whether you are threatened with homelessness or homeless and what duty is owed. There is an explanation of these duties at Homeless/threatened with homelessness. If you are homeless and you spent at least one night in care when you were 16/17 you are automatically classed as priority need until your 21st birthday. If there is reason to believe you are homeless and eligible for assistance and in priority need we will have a duty to find temporary accommodation.
Where you are working with social services and have a Pathway Plan we will need to get in touch with them as part of our assessment process.
If you are over 21 and we need to decide whether you are in priority need we will consider the following:
- The length of time you were looked after
- The reasons why you were looked after, accommodated or fostered
- The length of time since you left care, and whether you have been able to obtain and maintain accommodation during any of that period
- Whether you have any existing support networks including family, friends, a mentor.
We have to think whether if homeless you would be at particular risk of exploitation, abuse or involvement in offending behaviour
As a local authority we must have regard to the need:
- To act in the best interests, and promote the physical and mental health and wellbeing of those children and young people
- To encourage those children and young people to express their views, wishes and feelings.;
- To take into account the views, wishes and feelings of those children and young people
- To help those children and young people gain access to, and make the best use of, services provided by the local authority and its relevant partners
- To promote high aspirations and seek to secure the best outcomes, for those children and young people
- For those children and young people to be safe and for stability in their home lives, relationships and education or work and
- To prepare those children and young people for adulthood and independent living
If you are under the Relief Duty and it comes to an end then the Council have to assess whether we have a duty to secure you accommodation. The Criteria we have to look at here is that
- You are eligible for assistance
- You are in priority need
- You are unintentionally homeless
We also as part of the process look at local connection. A care leaver will have a local connection to a local authority area:
- where it owes her/him duties as a former relevant child. This local connection category will apply until the care leaver's 21st birthday or if s/he is pursuing a course of education set out in her/his pathway plan, until that course of education is finished. In non-unitary authorities the care leaver will have a local connection with all the local housing authority areas within the social services authority's area.
- in which s/he was normally resident for a continuous period of two years, at least some of which fell before her/his 16th birthday, as a result of being looked after by a local authority. This connection will last until her/his 21st birthday.
Financial help for housing
Usually if you are aged under 35 and you rent from a private landlord, the maximum Housing Benefit or Universal Credit you can get is the same rate you would get from renting a single room in a shared house. However, if you’ve been in care, this doesn’t apply until you turn 22.
You can look at some steps which may help your situation at Homeless/Threatened with homelessness.
Useful contact numbers
National Youth Advocacy Services 0800 808 100