In this section you will find help and advice about what to do if you are thinking about leaving home with your child. Some people believe that if you are pregnant or have children the council will automatically house you. But the council operates a waiting list and gives you priority for getting accommodation based on your circumstances. There are also lots of other things besides accommodation you need to consider, before you make the decision to leave home.
If you think you might be homeless or will qualify for accommodation you can make an application to the council. Advice on housing options and making a homeless application can be made by calling in at Dudley Council Plus offices in Dudley town centre. They will allocate you an advisor to look at your case on an individual basis. However, they may view you as being homeless if:
If you have children who will be living with you will be viewed as a priority. But the council will look at other things e.g. your connection with the area you have applied for, before they make an offer of permanent accommodation. The council will award you prioity dependent on your situation. The higher band you are in the greater your chance of being housed quickly. However, even if you are in the top band you can only be offered accommodation when a suitable property becomes available. Making a homeless application and applying to go on a housing association application for accommodation, are two separate things and you need to ensure you do both.
Dudley MBC operate a choice based lettings system. This means they advertise the properties that are available on the waiting list and you will be required to bid for them. If more than one person bids for a property the person with priority will usually be given the property. You must ensure that you are registered to big.
Another option you can consider is supported accommodation. This is where organisations offer accommodation with support, which enables you to move towards independent living with you child gradually. They will provide you with a support worker who will offer support with budgeting, living skills, education, health, safety and many other things. In Dudley the support is funded by the Supporting People Team- you can contact them using the information below.
Support is also available when you are living your own tenancy to enable you to move successfully towards independent living. If you think you may need some additional support and would like to know what this would involve you can contact the support providers for an informal chat. Your health visitor, midwife or social worker may also be able to refer you for support.
You can also rent accommodation from a private landlord when you leave home. This usually costs more that council or housing association accommodation and you will also need to provide a deposit and references. It is also possible that the landlord may ask you to move out after the initial period of your tenancy has expired if they want to sell the property. Some landlords may have a no benefits of children rule.
Please look at the section on benefits and claiming housing benefit for more information regarding this.
When you find yourself on your own, you may feel isolated and lonely and daunted by the prospect of looking after yourself and your child. But there is support and guidance available for you. If you have worries about childcare, benefits or other matters you can contact the following agencies who will be able to support you or direct you towards other agencies that are able to.
The Respect Yourself Campaign 01384 813653
Lone Parent Helpline
Young parents benefits advisor
Connections Young parents advice
Dudley Council Plus
Heantun 01384 458455
Bromford 01384 259341