Housing, accommodation, and financial support
The law says we must provide you with suitable accommodation and assistance with expenses linked with employment, education and training. We will also encourage you to stay in care until you are 18 years of age. If you choose to leave care before the age of 18 years, we must provide you with suitable accommodation.
There have also been some changes in housing legislation. This means that any care leaver who becomes homeless will be able to demonstrate a local connection to either:
- the area of the local authority where they were looked after and who owes them leaving care duties
- for a care leaver under 21 years old – an area different to that of the authority who owed them the leaving care duties, where they have lived for at least two years, including some time before they were 16 years old.
Visit our housing services pages for more information.
Accommodation support we offer
- Support to remain with your foster carer under what is called a ‘staying put’ arrangement, which will be reviewed every six months to make sure it's meeting your needs.
- Once you have reached the stage where you can live independently and maintain your tenancy, you will have the option to apply for social housing through social housing (this accommodation is managed by a housing association). As a care leaver, you may be eligible for additional priority. Visit Island HomeFinder for more information.
- Support you to remain in the area that you were looked after as long as you have lived there for two years, including some time before you were 16 years old.
- Support to prevent you from becoming homeless.
- Have workshops to receive advice about holding down a tenancy, including avoiding rent arrears, paying bills, and budgeting effectively.
- A 'Setting up Home' allowance of £2,000 (based on assessed need) for items you need to set up home like appliances, bedding and furniture.
- If you don’t want to live on the Isle of Wight because you have family or friends or connections elsewhere, you will need to talk to your PA. Your PA can make contact with the Local Authority where you wish to live to see if they are able to assist you.
- A decorating allowance if you are housed by Sovereign Housing to buy paint or wall paper. Or support to obtain paint and wall paper.
- Support to put up shelves, curtain rails or assistance to assemble furniture.
- Where possible, not making care leavers intentionally homeless on the Isle of Wight and being given a second chance if you run into problems with your accommodation.
- AQA independent living skills programme to support you evidence your independent living skills.
Staying with your foster carers beyond the age of 18 years of age is called ‘staying put’. If you are currently with a foster carer, you have the option to remain in their care, if everyone agrees, and you have the option to remain there until you turn 21 years old.
Rather than being a child in foster care, this arrangement is viewed as being a lodger with a host and paid as such. This will not affect you getting a permanent tenancy but enables you to choose when you feel ready to move onto independent living.
You will be expected to:
- obtain Housing Benefit or Universal Credit
- make a financial contribution towards the cost of this lodging if you are working.
Supported accommodation and semi-independent living
This is accommodation where you are provided with independent accommodation but are able to get extra help and support from staff. Depending on the type of supported accommodation, the staff might only be there for certain parts of the day. As with any adult accommodation, you will be expected to abide by the rules or risk losing the accommodation.
You can choose to rent a room in someone's home. Similar to staying put, this means that you would be a lodger in a host's home.
If you decide to live in shared accommodation, as a care leaver 18 to 21 years old, you will be able to claim the higher-rate, one-bedroom housing benefit to help cover the cost.
If you choose to enter privately rented accommodation, you will be solely responsible for managing the tenancy and paying the bills, such as gas, electric, phones, and water. This is a huge jump from living with a foster carer, so often supported accommodation is better initially to prepare you for this next step.
We will support you with a Setting Up Home Allowance if you move to independent living. You may hear your PA calling this an ‘Independent Living Fund’ (ILF). This can be quite exciting and scary at the same time, as it means you are about to take a huge step to live independently.
When you are ready to move on to independent living, we will pay up to £2,000 for essential items, based on a single young person moving into a one-bedroom flat. This money will not be offered as one lump sum, and we will not replace essential items once they are purchased. We will only purchase them once. Your setting up home money will be accessible based on your individual needs and the type of accommodation that you are moving into.
Everyone has to budget and therefore setting up home is an opportunity to really explore what is available out there, from free items, to up-cycling, or purchasing new. PAs are aware of what is classed as an essential item and can share this with you.
We will pay for your first TV license, however you will need to budget and pay for this yourself after the first year. You are able to pay your TV license in monthly instalments, although this will be slightly more expensive. You can pay your TV license online.