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We want to try to ensure that you have accommodation that suits your needs. We will:

  • Do our best to make sure the accommodation is in the area that you would like to live
  • Try to minimise disruption to your education if you are moving
  • Make sure that any accommodation is safe and maintained to a good standard
  • Check that staff or carers are able to offer you the support you need

  • Supporting you to remain with your foster carers (‘Staying Put’ arrangement). If this is what you and your foster carers want. This can last until you are ready to move on to independence, until you are 21
  • Providing information, advice and guidance on accommodation options
  • Practical support with moving into, and furnishing, your new home
  • Supporting you if you have a housing crisis. Helping if you are at risk of losing, or lose, a tenancy or become homeless
  • If you are attending university, finding somewhere for you to live during the holidays

  • We have a duty to fund the cost of accommodation until you reach the age of 18. Accommodation providers (including supported lodgings placements) charge a personal service charge. You will have to fund this from your subsistence payments (see money matter section).
  • We only fund accommodation with approved providers that we have contracts with.

  • You will need to fund, or at least contribute to, the cost of your accommodation. This could be through working or the benefits you receive.
  • If you are waiting for an asylum decision, you may not have access to all the housing options available. Your Personal Adviser will help you to explore your options.
  • If you are studying, or on a low wage or not working then you should receive the Housing Element of Universal Credit or Housing Benefit. This can help pay for some, or all, of your rent. If renting privately the Housing Element is set by local housing allowance rates. The amount you will receive will depend upon the level of your income. You will be entitled to the one bedroom rate applicable to the area, up until your 22nd birthday. You can request that Housing Benefit is paid direct to your landlord.
  • If you are in receipt of universal credits you may be able to get a grant from CLAS Cambridgeshire Local Assistance Scheme. This can help pay for or replace essential basic household furniture and white goods. You may also be able to get food packs during times of hardship or in an emergency.

Housing options and allowances

If you are in foster care and you and your carers would like you to stay there after you reach 18, you may do. We will plan to help you become independent so that you will be ready to move on to a place of your own. Staying Put is available up until the age of 21.

As you will be an adult, you will no longer be in foster care. The New arrangements will be agreed between Cambridgeshire County Council, you and your former foster carer. We will support the arrangement financially, but you will need to contribute towards the cost of living there. The amount you pay will depend on your financial circumstances. You will support yourself for your day to day needs. If you are eligible for benefits, you will claim the housing element for the rent. This is paid directly to your former foster carer or through your bank (Direct Debit). Your Personal Adviser can help you set this up.

Once you are 18 you may consider moving back in with family or other relatives. This should be considered carefully as you could be vulnerable to becoming homeless if there is a breakdown in relationships. Please make sure you discuss these options with your Social Worker and Personal Adviser.

Supported Lodgings

This is where you would have your own room in a private house. Our approved supported lodging providers, are trusted adults who have the relevant training to support you. They will help you improve your independence skills, whilst you are in or seeking Education, Employment or Training.

  • The Supported lodging's provider will help you with daily tasks. For example, cooking, application forms, budgeting, diary management and attendance at meetings. The things you need help with, and the things you are good at, will be in your pathway plan.
  • Financial arrangements are like Staying Put and dependent on income.

Semi-Independence

Supported accommodation is provided by many different organisations and is generally for young people aged 16-25. This could be a hostel, shared house or self-contained flat. Some accommodation is staffed 24 hours a day. You would have your own furnished room, but may share facilities such as bathrooms, kitchens, lounges and laundry.

  • You will usually be offered support by a key worker who you will meet regularly to discuss how you are getting on.
  • You will be expected to make a contribution towards your rent. Depending upon your income you may be able to claim Housing benefit.

Social Housing

When you are ready to manage your own accommodation you can register for social housing. Please be aware that you will be liable for utility bills, council tax and rental costs. You will need enough income to cover this. Your accommodation provider or your Personal Adviser can discuss Social Housing with you.

  • Homelink is the letting scheme for council and housing association properties across Cambridgeshire and West Suffolk. After completing your online application, you will get a banding and bidding number. You can then bid on appropriate properties in the area you have a local connection to.
  • You may have to wait a long time before being successful. There is often more people looking than places available.

Private Renting

Renting privately is where you rent from a landlord. This could be either through a letting agency or directly. Private landlords may not accept people who are on low incomes such as those in receipt of benefits or in college. They will often want someone to be a guarantor for the rent or damage (in case it is not paid for). The Council is unable to be a guarantor for rental arrangements social or private.

  • You will normally sign a tenancy agreement for six or 12 months.
  • If you are eligible, you can still get the housing element of Universal Credit if you rent privately but you would only receive the (care leaver) higher rate of housing benefit up to your 25th birthday, so it is important to be realistic about how much you can afford.
  • You will often be expected to pay a deposit (usually a month’s rent) and at least a month’s rent in advance. Help to fund deposits for private rented accommodation can be considered from your Setting Up Home Allowance, see below. But only where it has been agreed this is suitable and appropriate for you.

The Hope Shop - Huntingdon

A 35% discount for Cambridgeshire Care Leavers on range of furniture and accessories. Please speak to your Personal Adviser to access this discount.

EMMAUS

Up to £400 worth of furniture and accessories for just £60 for Cambridgeshire Care Leavers. (Cambridge and surrounding postcodes only). Please speak to your Personal Adviser to access this discount.

Carpets4Less Huntingdon

A 25% discount for Cambridgeshire Care Leavers. Applies to our stock range of carpets, underlay and accessories Please speak to your Personal Adviser to access this discount.

Cut Price Carpets Cambridge

Discounted range of carpets available for Cambridgeshire Care Leavers. Please speak to your Personal Adviser to access this discount.

REES

Foundation Grants available towards driving lessons, financial emergencies, or funding. For Care leavers when looking to access Education or Employment. Please speak to your Personal Adviser for referral to this scheme.

Barnardos

A 20% discount on personal or household items, at any Barnardos retail stores. Only for Care Leavers. Please quote BRCL19 at the till.

Cambridge Aid

Cambridge Aid provide small grants towards essentials such as white goods, carpets, moving house, furniture and much more. Cambridge Aid website.

Our Dedicated Adviser for the Local Offer is a registered referral agent for Children in Need Emergency Essentials. If you are under 18, or have a child under 18, we can make referrals to help you to access essential items, such as cookers, washing machines, sofas, tables, or children's clothing. To be referred, please speak to your Personal Adviser or Social Worker.

If you are moving out of a residential or a foster placement into your own or shared accommodation in Peterborough you may be entitled to a ‘Moving In Box’ supplied by Diamond Hampers. This contains basic utensils, plates, glasses, cutlery, long life, fresh food, and a few extras to help you settle into your new accommodation and take the initial pressure off you. To be referred, please speak to your Personal Adviser or Social Worker. 

We are able to refer you for Staying Well Heating Grants when available. These are funded by Cambridgeshire Community Foundation, and are up to the value of £400 each, with a maximum of 3 grants per person. These cannot be used to pay off historic debt but can help you with upcoming utility bills. The payment would be given to the Local Authority who would make the payment directly to your energy provider. To find out if you are eligible, please speak to your Personal Adviser or Social Worker.

Before leaving care we encourage you to begin to plan for when you leave care. You should start buying small household items with the support of your foster carers or residential workers.

When you leave care and move into semi-independent or independent accommodation, we can provide a setting up home allowance. You may be able to get up to £1500 depending on your situation. You will be supported by your Personal Adviser to get essential household items to set up your home.

Tenants of Cross Keys Homes - Cross Keys may be able to support you with white goods and carpets.

Peterborough City Council will pay for a passport and provisional license and support you with your first months rent, deposit and TV License, outside of your Setting Up Home Allowance.

You can prepare yourself before you move by having a clear idea of what you need and how much it will cost. The most expensive household items will be kitchen appliances and flooring. It’s not a good idea to get a loan from a bank or enter into a hire purchase (HP) agreement. Repayments can be high, and you may end up paying back more than the items actually cost.

The following list is an example of some of the things your setting up home allowance can be used for. You will only be supported to buy an item once. The expectation is you will need to take the item with you if you move, or replace it yourself if it breaks.·

  • Furniture (e.g. bed, sofa, wardrobe and dining table)
  • Fridge
  • Cooker & Microwave
  • Washing Machine
  • Saucepan set
  • Crockery
  • Cutlery
  • 2 sets of bedding
  • Duvet and 2 pillows
  • 2 sets of towels
  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Kettle and toaster
  • Curtains
  • Flooring
  • First years TV license
  • First year of content insurance.

If you are hoping to claim back money from your leaving care grant, discuss this first with your personal adviser. Some items may have cost limits per item. We will support you to spend this carefully. Getting the items with the most benefit to you, and a good range of items with this money.

Homelessness

If you are over 18 and become homeless or are at risk of homelessness, you need to contact a district or city council.

As a Care Leaver you have a local connection to Peterborough City Council and are able to access our housing register and homelessness services. Also, if you have lived outside of Peterborough for two years, which started before the age of 16, you will also have a local connection to that area.

Your local council has an obligation to assess your case. They should provide you with temporary accommodation for a period of up to 56 days while they assess the case. They may speak to your previous landlord to understand your current situation.

Please remember that if you act in a way where district housing services think you have chosen not to be housed, such as not paying your rent, they may not provide accommodation, but can still offer you advice and guidance. Your Personal Adviser will support you in such circumstances. But Social Care is not responsible for providing accommodation for Care Leavers over the age of 18.

Please see the links below to the Cambridgeshire district and city council websites for further local information: