West Berkshire Council

Young People

Housing advice for young people

If you are homeless or threatened with homelessness within 56 days the council can provide you with advice and assistance to resolve your housing situation.


What can the service do to support you?

Duty to prevent homelessness: The council is committed to supporting applicants who are at risk of losing accommodation within 56 days. This means that we will try to prevent your homelessness by helping you to remain in your current accommodation, if that is possible. Otherwise we will explore with you alternative housing options such as securing accommodation in the private rented sector or supported accommodation.

Duty to take steps to relieve homelessness: We will assist households who are homeless to secure suitable accommodation, regardless of whether they are 'intentionally homeless' or have a priority need. This means that all eligible households will be offered help to secure accommodation.

 

Will the council provide me with accommodation?

We can provide advice and assistance to enable you to find alternative accommodation. However, we will not have a duty to provide emergency accommodation or temporarily house you unless you are considered to be eligible, homeless and have priority need. Your Homelessness Prevention & Relief Officer will discuss this with you as part of your application process and make necessary enquiries to determine our duties.

If you are a single person with support needs, the housing operations team can discuss a referral for appropriate support and put you in touch with relevant services within the council or outside the council as required.

If you are under 18, we have a legal duty to support you. This will be through children's social services and you could be supported through family mediation if you are at home or you could be accommodated in children's homes, foster care or hostels. To contact children's social services- please call the West Berkshire Contact and Assessment Service on: 01635 503 090. If you are calling outside normal office hours (9am-5pm) please call the emergency duty team on: 01344 786543

For more information on the homelessness criteria please visit Shelter Homepage or contact Shelter on 080 8800 4444.

You can approach the service to receive further advice and information about your housing situation by contacting the housing operations team on 01635 519 530 and choose option 2. Alternatively, you contact us by e-mail on housing@westberks.gov.uk

 

Bramlings

Bramlings is a supported housing scheme for vulnerable young people, including young parents. There are support staff available 24 hours a day and they have 12 single en-suite rooms, which share a lounge and kitchen, and 13 self-contained 1-bedroom apartments. Eight of these are reserved for young parents.

Contact Care & Support team on 0800 432 0077

For more information and other ways to contact visit: Bramlings Supported Youth Housing

 

Where else can I get housing support?

Stonewall Housing

Stonewall Housing is the specialist lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) housing advice and support provider in England. We provide housing support for LGBT people in their own homes, supported housing for young LGBT people, as well as free, confidential housing advice for LGBT people of all ages.

Advice line- 020 7359 5767 (Monday-Friday 10am-1pm)

For more information and other ways to contact visit: Stonewall Housing
 

Centrepoint

Centrepoint is a charity supporting homeless people aged 16-25. If you're rough sleeping, sofa surfing or don't feel safe in your home, the Centrepoint Helpline is there to support you. You can also get in touch if you're worried about a young person. Call the Centrepoint Helpline free on 080 8800 0661 (Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm).

Website: Centre Point
 

The Mix

The Mix is the UK's leading support service for young people under the age of 25. They tackle issues from money to mental health, homelessness to finding a job, from break ups to drugs. There are many ways to contact The Mix, through webchat, group chat, one to one chat, web/telephone counselling, email and through the helpline.

For more information visit: The Mix or the helpline on 080 8808 4884 which is available from 11am-11pm every day.

 

Financial support

Benefits
Universal Credit

Universal Credit has been introduced across the UK and it replaces the following benefits:

  • Child Tax Credit
  • Housing Benefit
  • Income Support 
  • Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA)
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
  • Working Tax Credit

Anyone making a new benefit claim or reporting a change of circumstances would be required to claim Universal Credit. If you already claim benefits and your circumstances don't change, you may not be moved over to Universal Credit just yet.

From 1 April 2017 it was announced that 18- to 21-year-olds are no longer entitled to the housing cost element of Universal Credit unless they can prove they meet an exemption.

The exceptions are the following:

  • those not subject to work-related requirements
  • victims of domestic violence
  • care leavers 
  • people in temporary accommodation
  • people in work, subject to minimum earnings requirement
  • people who have left work up to six months previously, subject to minimum earnings requirement
  • young parents
  • those for whom in the opinion of the Secretary of State, it is inappropriate to live with either of their parents.

For more information and to claim visit: https://www.gov.uk/universal-credit

You can contact the Universal Credit helpline on 080 0328 9344 if you:

  • need help finding or using a computer
  • have questions about applying
  • want to apply in Welsh
  • need information in alternative formats (for example Audio CD, braille or large print)

There are other benefits you may be eligible for:

Housing Benefit

If you are under 35 years of age, single and do not have children then you are usually only entitled to benefits which would cover renting in a shared accommodation. The maximum housing benefit that you would get would be the rate for renting a single room in a shared house and this rate would be given to you even if you live in a self-contained flat.

Shared accommodation is when your tenancy agreement states that you have access to one bedroom only and shared use of a bathroom, kitchen and living room. The shared accommodation rate differs depending on where you live.

You can check the shared accommodation rate in your area by going to: https://lha-direct.voa.gov.uk/search.aspx

Please note that the shared accommodation rate only applies when renting from a private landlord (so doesn't apply to council or housing association properties).

The shared accommodation rate doesn't apply if you live with another adult or child. There are also other exceptions if you:

  • Have a history of care and are aged under 22

  • Are a registered foster carer

  • If you receive a severe disability premium or someone receives this for you

  • Are someone who has a proven need for overnight care and has a spare bedroom that a non-resident carer regularly stays overnight in

  • If you are aged over 25 and have spent at least three months in a homeless hostel or hostel specialising in rehabilitating and resettling within the community. 

  • Are a former prisoner and are managed under the Multi Agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPA)

If you are a part-time or full-time student, you can get Housing Benefit if you receive income support or income-based JSA or you are a lone parent or a member of a couple who are responsible for a child and are both full-time students and you live in temporary accommodation provided by the Council. For more information visit: Gov.uk - Housing Benefit

To apply for Housing Benefit you have to go to your local council website. If you are a West Berkshire resident:  Housing Benefit
 

I'm studying/in education

Job seekers allowance (JSA)

Full-time students:

If you're studying for A-level or an equivalent qualification you can't usually get JSA until you have stopped studying and your parents have stopped getting Child Benefit for you. Child Benefit payments stop after the last day of February, May, August or November (whichever comes first).

If you're studying for a degree-level qualification and you have children, you may be able to claim JSA during the summer holiday.

Part-time students:

You may be able to get JSA while studying part-time (including part-time Open University Courses) as long as:

  • you take a job if it's offered to you

  • you do everything you can to look for work, as agreed with your work coach
     

Income support:

Most part-time and full-time students are not entitled to Income Support. However, you may be entitled to this benefit if you are: a lone parent with a child under five; a lone foster parent of a child under 16; receiving long-term Incapacity Benefit; a refugee who is learning English to obtain employment; or under 21 or have reached 21 whilst enrolled on or accepted on a full-time non-advanced course and you are without parental support.

You can claim income support during the summer holidays if you are a single parent with a child or a member of a couple with a child (and your partner is a full-time student). This would depend on whether you have a low income.
 

Other benefits:

  • If you are responsible for a child, as a part-time or full-time student you can still claim Child Benefit.

  •  If you are responsible for children as a lone parent or as a member of a couple, you may get Child Tax Credit.

  • If you or your partner are working and have a fairly low income, you may get Working Tax Credit

  • You may be able to get Universal Credit if you're on a part-time course that is accepted as being compatible with your work-related requirements if you are subject to these.

 

University Hardship Funds:

If you are experiencing financial hardship, you may be able to get financial support from your university or college. It is under the discretion of the university whether you will receive support. Your university or college may also be able to advise you on bursaries, grants, benefits and debt.  You can get more information by contacting your student welfare/liaison department.

For additional advice on student finance, please visit:

Prince's Trust

The Prince's Trust works with disadvantaged young people aged 11-30. They provide training, personal development opportunities and grants to help young people to get into work, education, self-employment or training.

Website: Princes Trust

Telephone: 080 0842 842 (free)

Text 'call me' to: 079 8338 5418 
 

Galop

Galop provide Hate Crime, Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence support services to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans + victims/survivors by telephone, email, text and WhatsApp. Galop also works with young people 25 years old or younger. Galop can assist with hostel accommodation but only if you live in the London area and you are homeless, or at risk of homelessness, and identify as LGBTQ+.

You can call between the hours of 10am-5pm on weekdays to the Galop Shoutline 0800 999 5428 to ask for advice or to arrange an appointment.

Email: advice@galop.org.uk 

Website: Galop