You can live independently at any point from the age of 16 and before you reach 18, at a pace that suits you and there are many different options to help with this.
It is a very big step, particularly if you have to move away from people who have been supporting and caring for you, and from friends that you have made.
Living in semi-independence
The thought of taking a step into semi-independence can often be a frightening, exciting and challenging experience.
It may be agreed that you can remain in your current placement, on your own or in shared accommodation to live in semi-independence. This will give you the chance to learn how to manage your own home and receive help from those who can support you.
This is a big change, as you will have to support yourself on a set amount of money each week and:
- buy all your food, clothing and household items
- cook and clean for yourself
- arrange your time on a daily basis to get to work, college, appointments, meeting friends, managing visitors to your home
- make sure you keep to the rules of where you are living.
You will get the right amount of support you need to help you develop your skills in readiness for living independently.
Your PA will be able to discuss the wide variety of options available with you as you are approaching 18 and thinking of moving to full independence.
Once you are 18 there are a variety of housing options to suit your needs.
Lodgings - Where a landlord lives within the property and you have your own room, but share the facilities with other occupants.
Shared housing - This is similar to student accommodation where three or four people share a house.
Student accommodation - This can be within a halls of residence or shared housing with other students and will usually have a key staff member who will help source this type of accommodation.
Foyer accommodation - Foyers are usually for ages 16–25. Any young person considering this accommodation needs to be aware that accepting regular support sessions is a conditional requirement, as is engaging in some type of education, employment or training.
Usually there is 24-hour on-site support. There are various schemes available, usually allowing a young person to remain for two years and with a 'move-on' protocol with the local housing authority.
Supported housing schemes - These are often individual flats or studio accommodation with staff on-site at various times, sometimes 24-hours and will include some type of support. These schemes usually allow a young person to remain for two years.
Council housing - These are unfurnished single occupancy flats or bedsits. All new tenants will get a starter tenancy for an initial one or two year period, but longer terms are available.
Housing association - These are self-contained unfurnished single occupancy flats or bedsits. All new tenants will get a starter tenancy for an initial one or two year period, but longer terms are available.
Privately rented - This tends to be short-term accommodation for a minimum of six months and allows flexibility if you need it. If you have held a previous tenancy and lost it for some reason, this may be your only option. You should consider this option carefully and discuss all aspects with your PA to minimise any potential difficulties.
Foster care - If you are living in foster care, you may wish to remain with your foster carer until you are 18. Even if this is the case, it is always a good idea to have your name on a housing register, so that you have some idea of what is going to be available when you reach 18. It may be possible for you to continue to live with your foster carer after the age of 18. You will need to discuss this option with your PA.