We know that finding your first property can be difficult. We aim to support you to live independently in accommodation that meets your needs, is stable, affordable, and makes you feel safe. There are a range of options available and your personal adviser will support you to decide which option suits you best.
When you are 17 years old a Personal Adviser will be invited to attend your next 2 reviews prior to reaching 18. At these reviews, part of your Pathway Planning will include your Accommodation Planning post 18 years old.
Your personal adviser will make sure you have the support you need when you leave care and that the accommodation you choose is included in your Pathway Plan.
They will also assist you in making the applications when you have decided what option is best for you.
If this is what you and your foster carer/s want, we will support you to remain with your foster carers under what is called a ‘staying put’ arrangement after the age of 18. It is no longer a foster placement, you will have more independence and responsibility and a living together agreement is set up with you and your carer find out more about staying put.
You will have to pay a contribution towards your ’keep’ and will also be expected to pay rent (from Housing Benefit or your income if you are working); this will be written into your Staying Put Agreement.
Once you leave your Staying Put Arrangement, the agreement for Staying Put will have ended and you cannot return to another Staying Put Arrangement. More information is available in WCC Staying Put Policy
Your Social Worker will work alongside you, your carer, and the Fostering and IRO Service to formalise the Agreement and this will be part of your Review and be incorporated into your Pathway Plan. Your personal adviser will support you post 18 in your Staying Put Provision.
Helping you find a home that’s right for you
We’re committed to helping you find the right place to live, one that you can call home.
Some people live in their own flats or houses, totally independently and don’t need much support; others may require more support - it all depends on your individual needs. You can have a chat with your personal adviser who will ensure you get the right support at the right time.
There are several housing options and support services available which are listed below; you can also get advice from your personal adviser or the Housing Options Team.
We will work with you to find the best housing for you by going through all your options and helping you to apply.
The Housing Options Team can also help you if you are at risk of homelessness or have become homeless.
Living with Friends and Family
Once you have turned 18, you may decide to live with your birth family or friends. If this is something you wish to consider then your personal adviser can help you to achieve it.
If you decide to live at home with your family, this can affect how long you get leaving care service support for. We will ensure that you get the right support to help you do this.
When you move on from foster or residential care you may move into supported accommodation. In Barnsley this is provided by Centrepoint and is available for young people aged 16-24-year. Centrepoint provide a range of services including:
- 24 hour supported accommodation
- Supported 'move on' accommodation
- Visiting tenancy support for those living in their own property or sharing a property
- Support around health and wellbeing
- Support around training, education and jobs
- Support to develop life skills for moving on and managing a tenancy
- Working with other agencies if you are at risk of losing your tenancy.
- Assess, evaluate and progress the time you are ready to move on to your own tenancy.
- Liaise closely with your personal adviser, undertaking Pathway Plan reviews and in-house reviews.
Centrepoint can help you learn how to manage your money so you can pay your bills, claim appropriate benefits such as universal credit, help you understand what managing a tenancy is like and will support you to find out about opportunities such as volunteering, training or education. They will also work with you to find appropriate 'move on' accommodation when you are ready.
If you are ready to move into your own place and live independently, there are a number of options for you, including private rented accommodation, housing associations or council housing, which in Barnsley is managed by Berneslai Homes.
Berneslai Homes waiting list
In Barnsley care leavers with a housing need are a priority on our waiting list for social housing.
When you apply for a council home in a planned way you will be awarded band 1 priority. You can apply up to two months before your 18th birthday.
Once you are registered for council housing you can make an expression of interest (sometimes called 'bidding') for properties which are advertised each week on Berneslai Homes website. How long you will wait for an offer will depend on where you prefer to live, demand and what becomes available. These properties are usually unfurnished but advice and assistance on how to source furniture will be provided by your personal adviser.
Alternatively you can talk to Berneslai Homes about the option of having a furnished tenancy. Berneslai Homes provide a range of other support services including a tenancy ready course, tenancy support and sustainment service, mental health housing support officers and full housing management services.
Floating support is also available through Centrepoint if you move into a Berneslai Homes Property.
Private rented accommodation means renting your home from someone who owns a property – a landlord. They could be an individual who owns one place or a company who owns lots of properties. We will help you understand exactly what a tenancy is and what your rights and responsibilities are when renting a house in the private sector, so you get the best possible start in your new home. You will normally sign up for a 6 months tenancy which may be renewed if you keep to your tenancy agreement.
Sometimes you need to pay a deposit or a bond when you take up a tenancy and the landlord may want someone to act as a guarantor for the rent payments. We can help you with this if you are over 18 years old and it is part of your Pathway Plan
Centrepoint can also offer floating support when you are in private rented accommodation based on your assessed need. Centrepoint will also work closely with your personal adviser to ensure your needs are met.
Housing Associations (Registered Social Landlords)
Housing associations are 'not for profit' organisations who provide social housing for people in need of a home. There are a number of these operating across Barnsley and often the council has 'nomination rights' to these properties, so if you are applying for council housing it is also worth ticking the box that says you are willing to consider a housing association property. You can also apply direct to the individual housing association.
View our list of housing associations offering homes to rent in Barnsley to see what properties are available. Although it can vary between organisations, a lot of housing associations also provide a range of support and housing management services.
Centrepoint can also offer floating support when you are in a housing association property, again offering support based on your assessed need. They will work closely with your personal adviser to ensure your needs are met.
Support and advice from your personal adviser
Living independently for the first time is a big challenge. Your personal adviser is there for you to talk to about this. They will also work with you to help develop your skills and knowledge, so you are prepared for when you are living more independently.
Your personal adviser will visit within a week of you moving into your new home and review your Pathway Plan at that point. They will then visit you at least every 2 months after that unless you need or request more frequent visits.
You can always make contact with your personal adviser if you need support or advice.
Your personal adviser will:
- Help you arrange help with moving into and furnishing your new home.
- Let you know how you can use the 'setting up' allowance to help you buy essential things when moving into your own home (up to a value of £2000). Your personal adviser can help get you the best deals on carpets, white goods and other essential household items.
- Make sure you receive council tax exemption until you reach the age of 25
- Help you to get any minor repairs fixed and check that you are maintaining your home. Help you to arrange for professional work to be completed if required via the Landlord.
- Help you to access rent deposits and bond guarantee schemes if you are in the private rented sector rather than using your Setting Up Home allowance for this purpose.
- Review where you are living through the Pathway Plan review process every 6 months and sooner if you move home or experience a significant change in your circumstances.
- Help you to claim housing benefit/universal credit if you are eligible and not in employment. We will work closely with the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) and attend your first appointment with you.
- Advise you about holding down a tenancy, including avoiding rent arrears, paying bills and budgeting.
- Support you if you have a housing crisis, including helping if you are threatened with, or lose a tenancy. We can also liaise with Housing Advice.
- Promote networks in the community including immediate and extended family.
- Liaise with Safer Neighbourhood and landlords when there are issues with neighbours/anti-social behaviour issues.
A new scheme is being introduced from August 2021, when you are ready to take up your own tenancy you will be provided with a Hotspot Wireless Router and a Data Sim Card. The Sim card will be topped up every month by your Personal Adviser for the first 12 months of your tenancy. This will allow you to connect to the internet on all your electronic devices and will help you stay connected to services and family and friends.
Tenancy Ready training
Ready is a free, accredited course to help you manage your tenancy and work towards living independently. The course will cover the following:
- Introduction to Tenancy Ready
- Properties and Tenancy Agreements
- Types of homes and tenancies
- Identifying wants and needs within a home
- Setting a budget for your home
- Looking at income and expenditure
- Housing benefit
- Identifying the best features of a bank/credit union/building society account
- Viewing a property
- How to make a good impression when meeting a landlord / Berneslai Homes’ representative
- Identifying how to maintain safety, security and lifestyle
- Setting up a home
- Identifying sources of affordable furniture
- Identifying credit advantages and disadvantages
- Choosing utility providers
- Looking After Yourself
- Identifying local services and groups
- Locating and registering with local healthcare services
- Identifying affordable food and meals
- Moving in day.
- Reading utility meters
- Identifying ways to pay for utilities and rent
- Identifying the consequences of non-payment of expenses
- Maintaining a property
- Outlining the responsibilities as a tenant
- Identifying how to maintain a property
- Identifying what to do if things go wrong in a property
- Landlord responsibilities
- Shared Accommodation
- Where to get help and support