How we support you with house and accommodation

We are committed to making sure that once you leave our care we help you find suitable accommodation that meets your needs. We know not all young people will be ready to live unsupported in their own tenancy straight away. Your social worker/PA will have worked with you to agree plans for when you are no longer in care. This will include plans for your accommodation and will be written into your Pathway Plan.

Barnet’s care leaver housing protocol provides step by step information about the housing options and steps that are taken as young people progress towards independence. It also includes details about the financial and other support that is available to young people along this journey.

In Barnet, your social worker and PA will work together with you to help you to find suitable accommodation.

This will involve:

  • advice about holding down a tenancy, including avoiding rent or Council Tax arrears, paying bills and budgeting. We know it can be very hard having your own place for the first time. We will do whatever we can to offer support and to ease the pressures on you

  • helping you to claim housing benefit/universal credit

  • practical and financial support with moving into and furnishing your new home; and

  • supporting you if you have a housing crisis, including helping if you become at risk of eviction or loss of a tenancy.

These are the accommodation options available to care leavers in Barnet:

Staying Put

Staying with your foster carers after you turn 18 is called a ‘Staying put’ arrangement. This can last at least until you are 21. ‘Staying Put’ aims to help you gradually progress to living independently, as many young people leaving home at 18 may not be ready to live alone. You, your carers and Barnet Council will sign an agreement that sets out the terms of this arrangement, and it will be reviewed annually.

Staying Put gives you the opportunity to be in education, training and employment without the disruption of having to move into ‘independence’ during this important period of your life.

Because you are no longer in care at age 18, being in staying put is different to foster care, and there are some changes that take place to help you prepare for your own home. You will have to do things like cooking, managing your own money and paying weekly payments as part of a staying put arrangement.

Supported Lodgings

This is similar to ‘Staying put’ but is not with your foster carers. It means you move somewhere new to live but you remain living in a family home and have the additional support that comes with being part of a family. The support will be different to a ‘Staying put’ arrangement, as you will be living in a private house with a landlord (someone you did not live with previously). You will have responsibilities such as paying weekly contributions, making your own meals and managing a budget. The level of support you receive in this accommodation will be based on your individual needs.

Social housing

This is accommodation managed by the council or a housing association, and is where you have a room or property (such as a studio or flat) and are given a tenancy and the responsibility of managing this property yourself. Deposits are required for these properties, and often an offer can only be made once the housing association, council or personal advisor is sure that the rent for the property can be managed by the young person, not just now but in the future also. They will look at things like your finances, education, employment or training situation and feedback from your personal adviser regarding independent living skills.

Private rented accommodation

This is where you rent a room or property (such as a studio or flat) and are given a tenancy and have the responsibility of managing this property yourself. If you want to rent a private property, it is likely your landlord will require a deposit and rent in advance before they will agree to a tenancy. In some circumstances, we can support you to access a rent deposit schemes

Supported housing

Supported housing or semi-independent as it is sometimes known, is often run by a charity organisation. This accommodation usually includes a range of teams and resources that young people. Supported accommodation services can be very different from each other, but generally will have a staffed office on the bottom floor with key workers who can help you to plan out this phase of your life, and possibly connect you to relevant activities through its parent organisation such as work experience, advocacy and more.

Student holiday accommodation

If you are a student over 18 in full time residential education or in higher education, we will ensure that you have suitable accommodation, if you need it, during the holiday period. For young people in higher education the financial support we provide covers the academic year but we can provide advice and support with finding accommodation and additional costs, where appropriate.

If you are in a Staying put arrangement, you will return to your home during holiday periods.

Shared lives scheme

If you are a care leaver with a disability and care needs, under the shared lives scheme, you can be matched to live with an approved shared lives carer. These carers share their family and community life, and give you care and support with your needs.
Some people live with their shared lives carer, while others might be daytime visitors or stay for shorter periods of time. Carers are carefully checked and trained. As part of your Pathway Plan you can consider Shared Lives as one of your options for when you turn 18.