Below is a brief summary of the kinds of accommodation available.
Private Rented Accommodation
Properties can be found through lettings agents, newspaper adverts, notice boards or even shop windows. There are many properties available and they do vary in terms of size, quality, price and additional services provided. If you’ve decided to rent a property, you will normally have to put down a deposit and pay one month’s rent in advance. You receive the deposit back when you move out, as long as there is no damage; otherwise the landlord will keep some or all of the deposit to cover costs.
When moving into private rented accommodation the landlord will likely ask you to provide references. This is to check that you are reliable and are able to afford the rent. The landlord may ask for a letter from your employer conﬁrming your employment. They may also ask for a character reference.
A shared house is normally a private let, is fairly expensive, you require a deposit and you will need to get on with the other tenants. However on the positive side, sharing the bills should save you money and a shared house is usually furnished. There is a variety of shared houses available to rent and there are both good and bad landlords. The landlord should give you a written lease and you should seek advice before you sign it.
Housing Associations and Registered Social Landlords (RSLs)
These are organisations with housing to let at affordable rents. You can apply either directly to a housing association or through your council. There is normally a long waiting list. No deposit is required but you have to pay the bills. Some housing associations keep their lists separate from council housing lists and offer a wider variety of accommodation. To ﬁnd out if there is a Housing Association within your area you can either contact your local authority or go to the Housing Corporation Register to ﬁnd out more.
Voluntary organisations usually run semi-independent units. These are used as a stepping stone for young people, before they move on to independence. Semi-independent units have staff on-site to support residents. You will have your own room but will be required in most cases to share a bathroom and kitchen. All repairs are carried out by the service provider (the local authority or voluntary organisation).
Lodging Schemes/Supported Lodgings
These are also made available for young people as a stepping-stone to independent living. If you are provided with accommodation like this, a plan is usually put in place to increase your independence and improve your skills base. This will include giving you greater responsibility within the home for example, cooking meals and doing your own laundry.
This kind of accommodation is used if you are at risk of becoming homeless and you need somewhere to stay…fast!
One option could be to stay with friends. Make sure you don’t overstay your welcome though, it could ruin your friendship!
Nightstop offers a room in the home of a member of the community. These are only available for young people aged between 16 and 25. As the name suggests, this is a short-term option. In Worcestershire we have three Nightstops: Wyre Forest Night Stop email@example.com, Redditch Nightstop mail to:firstname.lastname@example.org and South Worcestershire Nightstop mailto:email@example.com
Other emergency options are hostels and night shelters. Night shelters are usually free but are very basic and you can only usually stay for a few nights at a time. Some night shelters only open during the winter months. contact Streetlink if you or someone you know is sleeping rough or call 0300 500 0914.