Care leavers - Accommodation

Although getting your own space may be an exciting time, other people in the local community may see you as a target for exploitation or disruptive behaviour. Please use the following tips to make sure you are safe at all times:

There are different housing options available in Cumbria, some with support included and some without. Ultimately, you will decide what accommodation to accept but we will be considering your needs and your level of independent living skills to ensure the accommodation offered to you is suitable and appropriate.

We will make sure that your views are listened to and accounted for throughout the process.

If you have any questions about different types of accommodation that you can access, your Personal Advisor will be able to help you find out more information. You can also contact the following people who can help you access the different types of support set out below:

Type of AccommodationWhat support is included

Supported Accommodation (if you are aged 16-24)

Can be accessed through contacting Andrew, Helen or Emmie.

If you find yourself homeless and have no other housing options you may be eligible for Supported Accommodation. It offers accommodation, support and training as a package and young people need to get involved with the support offered, otherwise they can lose their accommodation.  This is a short-term solution to homelessness that will allow you to live independently whilst teaching you independent living skills at the same time, such as cooking, cleaning, paying bills etc.

If you move into Supported Accommodation, you may be allocated a Support Worker to help you get through your tenancy.  Tenancy training is also usually a part of the plan. You only stay in supported accommodation until you are ready to move on and your support worker will help you find the right accommodation for you.

If you succeed in your tenancy and decide to move on to a Council tenancy (provided you are over 18), your Band will be increased.  A "Band" means what level of priority you are on the Council tenancy list (A being highest priority, E being the lowest).

More information on Supported Accommodation can be found on our Supported Living Webpages.

Can be accessed through contacting Andrew, Helen or Emmie.

Homestays acts as a home environment that you can access up to the age of 25. If you move into a HomeStay, you will receive between 7-10 Hours of support a week. This support will be tailored to your needs to help you have the skills to move into independent living successfully.Both you and your homestay provider will sign an agreement to set clear expectations. You must be in education, training or employment in order to access this support.

If you are over the age of 16, you may be considered for a Homestay placement if:

  • You have been in a foster placement but wish to move into independent living
  • You are struggling in your current adoption environment 
  • If you are aged 16-18 and seen as a child in need 
  • If you are struggling to live independently

Staying Put 

Can be accessed through contacting Andrew, Helen or Emmie.

If you live with a foster family, you can stay with the foster family after the age of eighteen for up to three years. However, being in Education, Employment or Training will help you access a Staying Put arrangement. You will enter an agreement if you enter a Staying Put arrangement and can access similar support that is available if you entered into a HomeStay agreement.

However, your placement may change if you leave to attend University or join the Armed Forces.

Renting in the Private Sector

You can rent a room or a whole property by yourself from a private landlord. This is usually a someone who owns the property or a company that specialises in renting out property.

Property can be found by using the Cumbria Choice Lettings Website

For rooms in shared houses:


Remember to lock all windows and doors when you are out and at night, this will keep your possessions secure and reduce the chance of burglary. If you suspect you have been burgled, contact the police immediately and your personal advisor as soon as possible.

Accidents happen at home and houses are full of items which can a cause fire. Both Fire and Carbon Monoxide alarms are valuable detectors which can protect your health and reduce damage if accidents do occur.

Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service carry out Free Home Safety Visits which can help to deal with potential fire hazards in the home. You may also be eligible for a free battery powered smoke detector.

For more information on Fire Safety

For more information on detecting Carbon Monoxide

You may feel that buying furniture and home possessions can be expensive and may take a long time. However, there are lots of options which mean you can still find good quality and affordable furniture. Most People start off with a few bits and pieces and build up over time. Here are some suggestions.

Look for furniture in the following places:

Local charity shops & second hand shops

They sell a range of household goods, from furniture to electrical items to smaller things like curtains and pots & pans. Many offer free or cheap delivery - which can be a big help!

Facebook Marketplace

You can search specifically in your local area and for the things you need. It's also worth browsing your local Sell & Seek Facebook pages.

Freegle and Freecycle

National websites that take you to local groups giving away things for free!

Shpock App

An app that lists items for sale based on the distance from your house. You can also search for specific items or browse by 'Home & Garden'.

Car Boot Sales

Good for the little extras you need - but go early to get the best bargains!

Local newspapers and notice boards

Look for the 'Classified' section in the back of newspapers and customer advert notice boards in supermarkets and corner shops.

Things to remember: 

Do not buy new furniture or order anything on credit unless you are absolutely sure you know what you are doing. 

E.g. Bright House advertise a single bed for only £ 2.50 per week! Plus a mattress for 

£ 3.50 per week. Sounds good right? The actual cost is £ 421, but with interest you will pay £ 754! A comparable second hand bed with a new mattress costs about £ 150 - saving you over £ 604 - what could you do with that money?

Do not accept stolen goods - it's not worth it.

Be careful with second hand electrical goods. Do not wire up electrical goods yourself unless you are sure you know what you are doing.

Cumbria also has an On-Line Badge Academy (Jetpack) which includes badges that you can work through and which will help you think about what skills or items you need to live independently and what help you can get. There are badges on pre-tenancy training as well as training on other subjects (identified by young people like you) including areas such as drugs and alcohol. This is an on-line resource and can be accessed flexibly on your own, with your Personal Advisor, in 1:1 sessions or in groups. The On-Line Badge Academy has developed the following:

  • Badges under eight themes (Crime, Future Booster, Health & Wellbeing, Home & Living Alone, Leaving Care, Me Time, Mental Health, Relationships)
  • Thirty Eight badges in total (within those themes), plus others transported across from other academies.

If you complete the badges about living independently, you can share this when you are applying for housing and it shows the landlord that you are serious about wanting to succeed in your tenancy and have thought about what you need to live independently.  If you successfully complete a badge, you will receive a certificate and you can show this to potential landlords or employers.

It is important that you have a safe and comfortable place to live which allows you to move to independent living successfully. Cumbria Choice Lettings search engine allows you to find a range of available properties within your local area.

A tenancy agreement is a contract between you and your landlord that gives certain rights to both you and your landlord. For example, your right to occupy the accommodation and the landlord's right to receive rent for letting the accommodation. Make sure you read the agreement carefully before signing it. You should also make sure that you have a full list of all items in the property - this is called an inventory. Check this list and make sure your landlord has signed it to avoid disputes later on. And finally, make sure you get a receipt for your deposit payment.


The Government run a Tenancy Deposit scheme which is designed to stop landlords keeping your money unlawfully. More information can be found by searching for Tenancy Support Protection online.