How we help you set up your home if you're a relevant care leaver.

We know it can be very hard having your own place for the first time. We'll do whatever we can to ease the pressure on you.

Your social worker or Personal Adviser will help you to find suitable accommodation. This might involve:

  • the Supported Lodgings scheme that helps you find lodgings in a home, with people who can offer you practical and emotional support

  • Supported Housing Alliance is a scheme that can provide long-term housing, support and care to help you live independently. Get more advice on housing options if you're a young person with SEND

  • working with housing services to come up with suitable housing options for you, including social housing which is managed by us or a housing association or supported accommodation if you're not ready or don't want to have your own tenancy

  • independent housing

  • advice about holding down a tenancy, including how to avoid getting behind in your rent, paying for bills and budgeting. We know it can be very hard having your own place for the first time; we'll do whatever we can to ease the pressure on you

  • practical support with moving into and furnishing and equipping your new home

  • supporting you if you have a housing crisis, including helping if you're threatened with losing your tenancy, or if you've lost it

Find out more about housing options on our youth link pages.

Apply to be on the Dorset Homechoice housing register

Apply to be added to the housing register for a home in Dorset. You might need help with this from your personal adviser.

Moving into your new home

When you're ready to move to your own home we will help you to set it up with a grant from us of up to £2,000. You can spend this money up until the age of 25. This money could pay for items such as:

  • luggage and moving boxes
  • towels
  • bedding
  • bed and mattress
  • kitchen items
  • furniture
  • fridge freezer
  • first year's TV licence
  • first year's household insurance

We will also consider carpets for your lounge and bedroom if you have a long-term local authority home and you'll be using your grant for this. There are often charities that can help too, for example:

New home parcel for relevant care leavers

We will provide you with a box of essentials for your new home.

This will include:

  • items to keep your home clean
  • some kitchen cupboard basics like salt, pepper and sauces
  • a cookbook
  • a £10 food voucher

We'll also make sure you have the essentials for yourself like:

  • shampoo
  • shower gel
  • toothpaste
  • toilet roll

Help with storing your personal belongings as a relevant care leaver

We've got short term storage units in Dorchester that you can use if you need to store belongings for up to 3 months.

If you need to store your items somewhere else, you need to use your personal allowance to pay for this.

Securing your home with deposit and rent in advance as a relevant care leaver

If we agree your chosen privately rented home is affordable for you, we'll help you with: 

  • up to 4 weeks' rent (one month) in advance
  • a deposit
  • any fees

We'll only do this once. 

There may be other help available from deposit, bond and rent in advance schemes, or through a discretionary housing payment.

Guarantor for private renting as a relevant care leaver

It's important to know that Dorset Council are currently not able to act as your guarantor for privately rented accommodation.

If you do not have a guarantor we'll try and support you through a company that offers guarantor schemes like Housing Hand's rent guarantor service.

You do not need a guarantor if you're offered a property from the council.

Your rent as a relevant care leaver

Dorset Children's Services will pay your rent up until your eighteenth birthday If you:

  • are 16 or 17 years old
  • have left care
  • are living in semi-independent, or independent accommodation

If you're living with family or friends we may be able to contribute towards your living costs. You may have to pay a service charge for the place where you live and you'll need to buy your own food.

We want to make sure that where you live is affordable.

We encourage you to consider properties priced within the local housing allowance rates as these properties would still be affordable if you had to claim Universal Credit for any reason.

Maintaining your home as a relevant care leaver

Your social worker or Personal Adviser will give you advice about renting successfully, including:

  • holding down a tenancy
  • how to avoid getting behind in your rent or Council Tax payments
  • paying for bills and budgeting

Find housing-related support and guidance.

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