Housing support services
Support for veterans
The Veterans' Housing Advice national help line makes it easier for veterans to get help with specialist organisations. They're open seven days a week 8am to 8pm and can be contacted on 0808 801 0880.
They can help you with:
- finding temporary accommodation with support
- finding settled accommodation, with or without support
- targeting help if you're unable to buy or rent property on the open market
- floating support to help you keep settled accommodation that you might otherwise be at risk of losing
The Royal British Legion (RBLI)
Support for care leaver’s
Kent County Council’s Children’s Social Services will help care leavers to prepare for becoming an adult and developing their independence.
You'll be entitled to this support up to the age of 21 (or longer, if you are in full-time education), if you've been cared for 13 weeks from the age of 14, and for at least a day following your 16th birthday. This makes you a ‘Relevant Child’. You have different rights if you have spent less than a total of 13 weeks in care, or if you want to leave care before your 16th birthday.
Move-on accommodation can be secured in many forms such as supported accommodation, shared houses, studios or flats, private renting, social renting, or student accommodation if you intend to go on to University. It's important that you are proactively planning before any support you receive from Social Services.
The Resettlement Service at your prison can help you apply to their waiting lists. You should receive a discharge grant when you leave prison. If a prison housing adviser has found you accommodation for your first night, you may be given a higher discharge grant (about an extra £50), which is paid directly to the accommodation provider.
If you're a low risk adult prisoner and eligible for release on bail or home detention curfew (tag) but don’t have suitable accommodation to go to, you may be able to get help with supported accommodation through the bail accommodation and support scheme (‘bass’). Find out more about this through StoneBass.
You may need to use emergency accommodation such as a hostel, night shelter or bed and breakfast accommodation if you have nowhere to go following your release. Hostels provide temporary accommodation. Some are direct access, which means you don’t need a referral from an agency to use them. Search the Homeless England directory to find hostels, accommodation and day centers in your area.
Support for 16 or 17 year olds
Looking for a place of your own is not at all easy, and you are probably better off trying to work things out where you are. Here are some things that you should know:
- you cannot normally enter into a tenancy contract until you are 18.
- most private landlords charge a deposit and at least a month’s rent in advance – so you will need some savings.
- most private landlords will not rent to young people unless they have a ‘guarantor’ (someone who agrees that they will take responsibility if the rent isn’t paid) – this could be a parent, for example.
- on top of the rent, you will have other regular bills, such as electricity & water – and you may need to buy some furniture. This will depend on whether the place is ‘fully furnished’ or not.
- your tenancy agreement will include some rules that you must abide by – a bit like being at home. You will not be able to do exactly as you please, otherwise you may be evicted (and then it will be difficult to find another place).
However, if anyone you're living with is being threatening or violent towards you, you should seek help straight away. The first people you should contact are Children’s Social Care on 03000 412323, or email. If you don’t want to go to the Council, you can ‘phone Childline on 0800 1111.
If you have been asked to leave?
Up to the age of 16, your parent(s) have legal responsibility to ensure you have a safe place to stay. If they can’t provide that, you can get help from Children’s Social Care. After you reach 16, your parents could give you notice to leave.
If you're homeless and under 18, Children’s Social Care will have a duty to explain your choices and assess your needs, so you should contact them first of all. The assessment will decide whether you're a ‘Child in Need’, and whether Children’s Social Care must accommodate you. They will probably negotiate with your family, to see if it is possible for you to return home. You can ask a friend or professional adviser to be with you at your assessment, to help you understand what is happening.
There is a ‘Joint Protocol’ in place in Kent – this is an agreement between Kent County Council and the local councils, about how 16-17 year old's should be helped. Read the Kent Housing Leaflet for 16 and 17 years old's.
Dealing with debts
You need to be clear about where your problems lie. If you have not already done so, fill out a budget sheet. You can use this in later negotiations with people you owe money to, if necessary. Doing this may help you to work out where you can cut down your non-essential spending.
Citizens Advice Bureau
If you’re having problems paying your mortgage speak to your mortgage lender, or call the Citizens Advice Bureau for help and advice.
Money Advice Service
If you'd like some advice about managing your money and ways of making it go further visit the Money Advice Service
If you would like practical debt advice and debt solution visit Stepchange.
Credit Unions are an alternative to Payday loan companies and doorstep lenders.
All credit unions offer savings accounts and loans. The maximum amount of interest they can charge is 3% a month or 42.6% a year APR. Kent Savers Credit Union provides loans at reasonable rates to the people of Kent.
Kent Support and Assistance Service
Kent County Council offers a welfare support service known as Kent Support and Assistance Service (KSAS) if you're having serious difficulties managing your income or are facing issues after an emergency or crisis. They can offer help for a short time, including assisting with items of clothing, groceries, household items and goods for young children.
Disabled facilities grants
These grants are for someone who has a disability and needs their home adapting to enable them to continue living there. For example a stair lift, walk in shower or ramped access.
The grant can be up to £30,000, and depends on your income and savings as well as your needs.
To apply and arrange an assessment of your needs, contact Kent County Council’s Assessment and Enablement Team on 0300 041 6161.
You may also be entitled to help from Kent County Council's Adult Social Services Team who has separate funding for applicants.