Young People

Practicalities of moving home

Considering moving into your own home and starting a new chapter in your life can be equally exciting and daunting. Whether you have lived on your own before or with others, this guide is to help make your first decision easier in terms of the steps you may have to take to achieve this goal. This guide is covering the approach to finding not just a house but a home to be able to make your own.

Only you can be sure if moving into your own home is right for you. There are many things to consider before you commit to moving into your home, and you should ensure you give yourself the opportunity to have all the relevant knowledge and support available to do this.

Support can come from lots of different people in your life, and this will depend on your own circumstances. However most local authorities have support available for care experienced young people.  We cannot detail what this looks like for every area of Scotland but the feeling of support should be there.

It is very normal for young people to want independence and to look forward to having their own home. But living independently does not mean you should be alone, as support during that stage in your life can make a huge difference.

For every person, whether they grew up in care or not, living alone for the first time is not easy. There is a lot to learn and it is normal to make some mistakes, like forgetting to put the bins out or having to pay extra for using too much electricity. No one would expect you to get it right immediately and you should ask the people in your life for help when you need to.

There are a few things you should always remember, so that you can avoid losing your tenancy and becoming homeless. (Though of course, should you be in that situation, there still is support available for you and you should approach your local authority)

Most importantly, you need to pay your rent and bills on time. If you know that will be difficult as for help as soon as possible, ideally before the next payment is due.

Unfortunately, we know that people with care experience are more likely to experience homelessness, with these figures increasing in the past 9 years in Scotland. However these figures cannot be accurate as it relies on people declaring that they are care experienced. The figures also do not show the hidden homelessness numbers either for example, young people sofa surfing.  

Homelessness is not the fault of the individual and usually, there are very complex reasons behind homelessness.

A survey by the Scottish Government in 2020 highlighted some of the biggest challenges homeless people face throughout Scotland. 51% of those who have experienced homelessness stated that they have at least one support need and 25% have identified that they had no independent living skills including how to manage a tenancy. Additionally, of those who were homeless and moved into a tenancy, 21% of people said their tenancy failed due to a lack of support, and 25% said it was due to mental health reasons.

We also know there is not enough adequate affordable housing within Scotland and the Scottish Government have pledged to build 100,000 homes by 2032.

There are many steps to moving into a new home. It is easy to get overwhelmed, so try not to do everything at once and ask for help when you need it.

For example, you do not need to buy all furniture and decorations at once, you can start with the most important bits (like a bed and a kitchen) and leave other expensive items for another time, so that you can avoid debt.

Finding a home:

There are several areas to consider when you are looking to move into your own home, first of all where would you like to live, how will you pay your rent and other important bills including your council tax. There are several housing options you can look at. You can find details of how to do this here:

A Guide to Social Housing - Shelter Scotland

Renting privately - Shelter Scotland

The two main housing options are either social housing or renting privately.  If you have a resource worker, they would be able to support you with a housing application for either tenure of housing.  

Paying rent:

Prior to submitting a housing application you would need to know how you would pay your rent this could either be from your salary from your job or you may be  entitled to the housing element of universal credit.  Information regarding universal credit is detailed below:

Housing costs and Universal Credit - GOV.UK (

Household bills:

It is also worth noting that you may also be exempt from council tax payments, more details below:

Care Leavers and council tax exemptions — Scottish Care  Leavers Covenant

Once you have a house its helpful to have a budget to work with for all your household bills.

Your household budget | National Debtline

You may also be entitled to a care leavers grant from your local authority. This could help towards the cost of setting up your new home.

Benefits, Grants and Support for Care Leavers - Shelter  Scotland

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