Where to now?
My mum is kicking me out of the house and says I have to leave on Saturday. I've just turned 18 and I have no idea where I can go, none of my friends can put me up and I have no other family I can go to. What can I do?
This is obviously a difficult and upsetting situation to be in but there is help available if you think you're going to be homeless. There are a number of different housing options open to you, depending on your age, income and what is what is available in your area. Your three main options are supported housing or hostels, making a homeless application to the council or renting from a private landlord.
Supported housing includes a variety of different kinds of housing such as hostels, shared houses, or a flat of your own. You normally get help from support workers who visit you regularly or work in the same building. They often help with benefits, housing, training, education or anything else you might need extra help with. One example of supported housing is a Foyer. Foyers provide housing, training and support for young people. There are foyer schemes around the UK.
If you're going to be homeless you can also apply to the council for help by making a homeless application. As you're 18 the council will have to provide you with housing advice but they only have to provide emergency housing to people who are classed as being in priority need, this includes people who have children or have significant physical or mental health problems or are vulnerable for other reasons.
You can also look at the possibility of privately renting a home. You can find privately rented housing through estate agents, letting agencies, newsagents' windows and advertisements in local newspapers. If you use an agency it will usually charge fees for references and administration charges. You'll also need money up-front to pay for rent in advance (usually one month) and a deposit (at least the equivalent of one month's rent).
If you don't have the money for a deposit, you may be able to get help from a bond scheme. These organisations will guarantee a deposit instead of you having to pay a deposit. To find out if there is a bond scheme in your local area you can contact Crisis SmartMove or check with your local council or advice centre as the website does not list all schemes.
If you find somewhere to rent, you may be eligible for housing benefit. Housing benefit is available to help people who are on benefits or who have low incomes to pay their rent. But it's important to bear in mind that sometimes your housing benefit can be restricted and will only cover a certain amount of your rent.
If you are homeless and in an emergency and want to speak to someone before you contact the council then you could phone Shelterline, a free, confidential, national housing advice phoneline, on 0808 800 4444. If you would like to speak to someone about other services for young people in your area you can call Get Connected, a free, confidential, national phoneline for young people, on 0808 808 4994 between 1pm and 11pm daily.
Question answered by Shelter