Young People and Homelessness

Young people and homelessness

Things you should think about if you want to leave home. Before making any decisions, please contact the Housing Options Team; they can give you advice on your own personal situation.

Before you leave home you need to think about:

  • What options you have
  • What help you can get
  • Where you can get help
  • How will you manage financially

A Perfect World?

In a perfect world there would be plenty of places to live. They’d be cheap, safe and available long term. Unfortunately, in Knowsley there is a huge shortage of accommodation. This can make it very difficult for you to find somewhere to live. Without careful planning you may end up with no options about where to stay and could even end up sleeping rough on the streets

What are your housing options?

When thinking about where to live, your housing options are likely to include:

  • Simply staying where you are, at home with your family
  • Staying with friends or relatives
  • Staying in a hostel
  • Renting a place privately
  • Renting social housing

There are pros and cons to all of these, so let’s think about each one in turn:

Staying at Home

Advantages

  • You probably have your food, shopping and cooking done for you and maybe your washing and cleaning
  • You have care and support on hand
  • You pay little or no rent
  • You have your home comforts
  • You are not responsible for bills such as Water, Gas, Council Tax and Electricity
  • You probably live near friends

Disadvantages

  • You must keep to your parents’ rule
  • You have limited independence- you can’t always do what you want when you want

The advantages of staying at home are normally greater than the disadvantages. If you are paying only a small amount of housekeeping (rent), this will enable you to save up for a deposit and a month’s rent in advance for your own place, or to pay off your debts. However, lots of people don’t get on with their family all of the time. If you are having problems, we can offer you free confidential mediation. Mediation is where an independent person talks with you and your family to help sort out your problems in a non-threatening way. Just contact us if you think mediation will help.

If your problems are around drug and alcohol use we can also refer you to the relevant support groups. One of the major problems found is that often adults don’t think that younger members of the family pay their way and this can often cause arguments. The Housing Options Officers can also give you advice about benefits, and where you can look at claiming these from, so that you can contribute towards the bills and food.

Staying with friends or relatives

Advantages

  • It sounds fun!
  • There’s no hassle from your parents
  • You know the people already

Disadvantages

  • You will probably only be able to stay for a short time
  • You may have to pay some rent or housekeeping
  • It will not lead to you getting future accommodation
  • You may fall out with your friend of his/her family
  • You may run out of friends to stay with

The problem with staying with your friends or relatives is that it will rarely lead to long-term accommodation and you will eventually run out of places to stay. In the worst case, you’ll end up sleeping on the streets or staying at a night shelter.

Living in a hostel

Advantages

  • There’s no hassle from your parents
  • There will be other young people around
  • You’ll have some freedom
  • You’ll get support from some key workers

Disadvantages

  • You’ll have to share facilities with strangers
  • There will be rules and a curfew which you must keep to
  • You’ll have to pay rent
  • You’ll have to do your own laundry, cooking, cleaning etc.
  • You may have some peer pressure- in other words; people may put you under pressure to live like they do which may involve crime and drug taking.

It is not always easy to get a place in a hostel because lots of people are on waiting list for a limited number of bed spaces. If you manage to get a bed space, you will have to obey the hostel rules, do your own chores and eventually find another place to live. You’ll also have to pay rent and service charges and share with strangers, although a key worker will support you in learning the skills you’ll need to live on your own.

Rent a place privately

Advantages

  • There’s a wide choice of properties including type of property and areas you could move to
  • You’ll get reasonable notice from the landlord if they require you to leave the property
  • You could gain some independence. You could claim Housing Benefit to help you pay the rent

Disadvantages

  • If you are 16 or 17 years old, you are not old enough to hold a tenancy in your own right. You must be 18.
  • It’s more expensive, even a room in a shared house may cost £400 a month
  • You may be asked to provide references and a guarantor (usually a family • member who either owns property or earns more than £20,000 per year)
  • You will need approximately £800 for a deposit and your first months’ rent.
  • We may be able to refer you for floating support at the beginning of your tenancy (this is support from an agency that will assist you with budgeting, applying for benefits and who will visit you regularly to ensure that you are managing)
  • You may need to provide your own furniture.

Private renting gives you the greatest choice where you live and allows you to be completely independent. It is expensive and if you are leaving home for the first time, the responsibility of paying the rent, council tax and bills can seem over whelming. On top of this, you will also need to be able to fill in forms, talk to your landlord and utility companies ( gas, electricity, water etc.) as well as being able to look after yourself properly.

Social Housing

Knowsley Borough Council and Knowsley Housing Options do not own any housing, all accommodation is provided by Housing Associations and is known as social housing.  The way to access the waiting list for social housing is via Property Pool Plus. You will need to register with PPP online and provide proofs before your application can be assessed and made active. https://www.propertypoolplus.org.uk/

Advantages

  • The rent is a lot cheaper than in private accommodation
  • We may be able to refer you to TESS for floating support at the beginning of your tenancy (this is support from an agency that will assist you with budgeting & tenancy skills.
  • applying for benefits and who will visit you regularly to ensure that you are managing)
  • Social housing tenancy can give you a lot of rights and stability

Disadvantages

  • We do not have enough social housing for everyone
  • Due to the limited number of homes you need to be flexible about where you live
  • There are a lot of people registered for housing so there is no guarantee when you will be offered a property
  • If you are 16 or 17 years old, you are not old enough to hold a tenancy in your own right. You must be 18, therefore you will not be activated on the register until you turn 18.

Renting social housing is very popular so there is very little accommodation available. You can register with Property Pool Plus when you are 16 but your account is unlikely to be activated until you are 18 therefore you will not be offered a property before this time. Due to the high demand, applications have to be prioritised therefore there is no guarantee when you will be offered a property.

Housing Benefit

If you do begin to rent your own accommodation you may be entitled to some assistance towards paying your rent.

  • Housing Benefit may help with your rent if you are on a low income or other benefits
  • If you are aged 25-34 and are not living as part of a couple and have no dependent children  you are eligible to claim the  Shared Room Rate of the Local Housing Allowance, (please contact the Housing Benefits Team for the up to date amounts.) The Shared Room Rate is unlikely to be enough to cover the rent for a 1 bed flat
  • The amount of Housing Benefit you receive is assessed on the amount of income you earn, benefits you receive and the Local Housing Allowance.

Children’s Social Care

The Housing Solutions Team work closely with Children’s Social Care to safeguard children; if you are 16 or 17 years old when you present as homeless a referral to Children’s Social Care will be made so that a joint assessment can be carried out. This will enable us to give you the best advice about the most suitable accommodation available.