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A place of your own

Most people will someday move out of their family home. Some people don't have a choice how or when this happens. However, if you are able to plan your move things will be much easier. If you are not getting on at home or thinking about getting your own place, start by thinking about the costs and responsibilities of independent living early on if you can.

Finding Somewhere to Live

There are different options depending on your circumstances and what you are ready to do.

Supported Housing and Hostels

If you have had to leave home and you are not ready to live independently straightaway, supported housing schemes are an option. You'll have a worker who will look at your support needs with you. How quickly you move on will depend partly on how well you are managing; for example your practical skills, if you pay rent or rent contribution on time, your behaviour etc. There is usually a waiting list for supported accommodation.You can find out more about Hostels and Support Housing in York here: Hostels and supported housing – City of York Council

Renting From the Council or a Housing Association

To apply for a council home in York you need to join the York-only Housing Register. You need to meet certain criteria to be eligible to join the Housing Register.

Before you apply for a council house, check:

Most local Housing Associations and neighbouring District Councils are all part of North Yorkshire Home Choice partnership. Please note Joseph Rowntree Housing Trust is separate from North Yorkshire Home Choice, so it is worth applying to them separately. They share an application form and housing policy which covers most of North Yorkshire. To apply you will need a local connection to the partnership area.

When you apply your housing situation and personal circumstances will be verified and will be used to decide which priority band you are in for housing - emergency, gold, silver or bronze (lowest priority).

If you have any housing debt to a council or Housing Association, this can affect your application, as can your income level and past behaviour.

You must tell Housing Registrations if your circumstances have changed as it can affect your application; especially if you change address. You should also tell them the following:

  • If you are being asked to leave, or have been given Notice to Quit, or someone moves in or out of the place you are living
  • If the place where you live is making you ill or affecting your mental health and about any medical conditions or disability
  • If you've had a child

Find more information about applying for a council property on the City of York Council website.

Renting From a Private Landlord

For information about renting and your rights the Government have provided a renting guide booklet. Landlords must now give a copy of this booklet to new tenants.

Accomodation in York is in high demand and as a result it can be expensive. Lodging with someone (where you live with your landlord or have living space with them) can be more friendly, though as a lodger you have fewer rights than as a tenant.

You will usually have to pay rent in advance and a bond/deposit (money that you get back at the end of the tenancy if nothing is damaged or missing). The landlord must pay this into a 'Tenancy Deposit Scheme' although this doesn't apply to resident landlords. if you cannot afford what they ask, try negotiating with what money you have. It's probably better to do this face to face so they can meet you rather than on the phone.

City of York Council's Housing Options team have a Bond Guarantee Scheme. They can help people on low income to get private rented accommodation by guaranteeing the bond/deposit to the landlord (this is not paid cash, but is a written guarantee promising to pay if needed. They can also pay rent in advance to secure the tenancy. You will need to get housing advice first and give proof of your income etc.

If you rent from a self contained flat or house or room in a shared house (not as a lodger) you should be given an 'Assured Short hold Tenancy' from your landlord. Even if you are not given anything in writing you still have legal rights as well as responsibilities.

Key things to consider

Rent, bills and financial support - Living away from home means you'll be responsible for bills, rent and food. Depending on your situation, you might not be entitled to benefits that help with these costs which would mean you'd need to pay for this yourself. You can check if you are entitled to any financial support at Benefits calculators - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Furniture and decorating - Depending on where you move, you might need to buy furniture or essentials when you first move in. Looking in charity shops and second hand websites can help you to find things cheaply. York Community Furniture Store  stock a range of household furniture and white goods that are discounted for people on low incomes. 

Know your rights - Whether you can legally move out depends on your age but you also have the right to be safe no matter where you're staying.

 

Risk of Homelessness

 If things are getting difficult at home, get information and support as early as possible.

City of York Council's Housing Options Team can offer advice and information about your housing options, homelessness and homeless prevention. They will look at your circumstances and discuss the options available to you.  They may mediate with friends and family on your behalf to prevent you becoming homeless, whilst other options are explored. They will not force you to return to somewhere if they consider it unsafe.

If you are homeless you may be referred to a hostel or supported accommodation. This might not be straightaway; they will look at other options with you such as Nightstop or an emergency hostel bed until then. They may have a duty to put you in emergency temporary accommodation instead whilst they make further investigations about your situation, or while you are waiting for another option.

If you have to leave home

  • Try to take all important papers with you such as your birth certificate, passport, National Insurance number, driving licence, bank card, medical card, address book, benefit papers etc...
  • Pack only essential clothes and toiletries - you may have to carry your stuff around. Take your mobile phone and charger and any medication you take. You can get the rest of your things later if you can't take it now.
  • Save as much money as you can in advance.
  • If you can, get advice early in the day and preferably early in the week. A lot of the places that can help you are only open in office hours and not at weekends.

If you are still in education, training or out of work you will need to find out about any benefits you may be entitled to as soon as possible. If you are making a new claim, it may take a while before you get any money.

If you want to let someone know you are safe, contact Missing People, who can pass on a message for you without saying where you are.

Emergency Accomodation

Contact City of York Council's Housing Options Team if you are homeless or about to become homeless (or kicked out) and you, or someone who lives with you are:

  • Pregnant, or responsible for children
  • Aged 16 or 17 years old
  • Vulnerable because of physical disability, learning difficulty, mental health problem or some other special need or circumstance

Tell them about your circumstances such as medical or mental health problems, or if you are escaping violence or abuse. You should also tell them if you have spent time being 'looked after' by Social Services or have been in prison, on remand or in the armed forces, no matter for how long. 

If You Are 16 or 17

Contact the Youth Homeless Workers. They have a duty to look in to your situation and the Council may have to find you emergency accommodation while they do this. If you are 16 but still officially school age e.g. in Year 11 and before the end of June they will put you in touch with a social worker instead, as they will not be able to refer you to any of the supported accommodation options. Find more information about the Youth Homeless Workers.

If You Are Under 16

The law says you can not live alone. You also cannot be referred to a hostel or supported accommodation and you cannot claim benefits or work full time. 

Your main options are:

  • Get help sorting out things with your parents. If you don't have someone who can help contact MASH 01904 551900 / MASH@york.gov.uk
  • Living with someone else - another family member or friend's parents. If you plan to spend more than 28 days living with someone who is not close family then Children's Social Care (MASH) have to be told so that they can make an assessment about your safety and that you will be cared for

 

Services who can help

There are a range of services that can help with your housing circumstances, in addition to the ones already mentioned. You can Search for Housing and Homelessness support services online.

 

You can also contact Young People's Survival Guide:

 Email: YPSG@york.gov.uk 

Telephone: 01904 555400 

TEXT ONLY number: 07786 202241 

Use our Contact Us online form.

Instagram @YorkYPSG

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