You have a few accommodation options if you're still in care over the age of 16.
Housing options for 16–18 year olds
Stay in foster care
You can stay with your carers until the age of 18.
Sometimes if you remain in education or are seen as having particular needs, you may be able to continue living with your foster family after you turn 18.
This is called Staying Put.
You'd need to pay some rent, whether that's from your income or housing benefit.
Ask your worker for more information.
Stay in your children’s home
If you live in a children’s home, you can stay there until you are 18 if everyone decides that's the best plan for you.
From the age of 16, supported lodgings is an option for you.
It's like foster care but gives you more independence. So you’d be living in a family home but there would be more focus on making you more independent, for example, cooking your own meals and managing your own money.
If you're 18 or over in supported lodgings, you'd need to pay some rent, whether that's from your income or housing benefit.
You can stay in supported lodgings until the age of 21, if everyone agrees this is the best plan for you.
Ask your worker for more information.
Another name for this type of accommodation is a "foyer". This could be shared accommodation with other young people, or on your own. You can live there for up to 2 years or longer if needed.
When you're 16–17, we'll pay the accommodation costs. After 18, you’ll be responsible for paying the rent.
Aldwyck Housing Group, East Herts YMCA, Hightown Housing, Paradigm Housing and Sapphire Independent Housing all have a number of schemes across Hertfordshire.
This is either shared or self contained accommodation for young people up to the age of 18.
It's only available through us and we pay the costs.
Alongside the accommodation, extra support hours are provided on a weekly basis to help develop your independent living skills.
Talk these options through with your social worker to see what's best for you.
Getting permanent accommodation (18 years and over)
When you're 16, your social worker will make sure your name is added to a housing register for social housing (council or Housing Association). The district and borough councils in Hertfordshire manage this.
The councils operate a ‘choice based lettings’ system. This means applicants bid for available housing which meets their needs. Your social worker will help you with this. Generally, extra priority is given to care leavers.
You can live in social housing from the age of 18, as long as you’ve shown you’re ready to manage your own tenancy.
You can lose your flat if you don’t meet the conditions of your tenancy. If this happens, you may be seen to have made yourself homeless intentionally, making it harder to identify alternative accommodation.
Social housing generally means you will have a secure tenancy. That means it will be for a much longer period than private accommodation.
This type of accommodation is also viewed as ‘affordable’ with rents being set by the government.
Private accommodation is normally accessed through letting agents, newspaper adverts or word of mouth. This type of accommodation is where you rent a property through a private landlord.
The rent is usually more expensive than social housing.
You'll normally have a 6 month tenancy which may be renewed.
You'll pay the ongoing rent but, generally, we'll pay the deposit and rent in advance. The deposit has to be returned to us at the end of the tenancy.
Help to pay the rent
From 18, you might be able to claim housing benefit to help pay your rent. We may act as a financial guarantor for you up to your 18th birthday. We might also provide a deposit and rent in advance if required.
Find out more about benefits for young people:
Benefits for young people (PDF)
Setting up home allowance
When you're setting up home, you could get up to £2,121 to purchase essential household items. That breaks down like this:
£1,875.50 – to be spent on items for equipping your accommodation.
£50 – to be used on basic essentials, such as cleaning products, tea, coffee and light bulbs.
£50 – Health and safety pack, these include 2 smoke detectors, a carbon monoxide detector, a door security chain, a chubb lock, a fire blanket and a first aid kit.
£145.50 – 1 year’s TV licence.
That's available up to the age of 21.