Housing options for young people

Facts about leaving home

You may have been told by your friends that you will get a council flat if you tell us your family has kicked you out. The truth is that you will not. There is a shortage of social housing in Slough and a long waiting list of people already on the Housing Register. You can apply to go on this list at 16 but will have a long wait, even if you are accepted on the Register, having met all the criteria.

All letting agents and landlords will ask you to pay a rent deposit and rent in advance and you will get asked to provide a guarantor too. A guarantor is an adult who will be responsible for your property if you cannot pay the rent, or if you cause any damage. The guarantor must be in full-time employment and usually have a minimum earnings level.

Moving out and maintaining your home once you have your own place is very expensive. On top of your deposit and rent in advance you will also need to pay for the following things every month:

  • rent
  • council tax
  • water charges
  • electricity and/or gas
  • internet, phone and TV
  • TV licence
  • mobile phones
  • food
  • clothing
  • cleaning products.

If you do still feel that you have to move out and are worried about how you will cope with all these bills and expenses, the Young People’s Service may be able to support you with an advisor who can help you with money management like free budgeting and benefits advice. If you are aged 16-19 (or 25 with a statement of Special Education Needs) then an advisor is available for information, advice and guidance drop in sessions which take place at various venues across Slough. Call us on 01753 875510 if you would like to make an appointment.

Want to hear from other young people who’ve been there and done that? Watch this short film for valuable insights into other young people’s experiences.

You can go to the YouTube site to access the Document me - Independent living video with an interactive transcript - select the 3 horizontal dots icon and choose "Open transcript". Please note the video may autoplay.


[On screen - all participants featured in this film are not actors.]

Some people think, "Yeah independent, I don't wanna live on my own", but it's not, it's not always that way, do know what I mean like.

[On screen - Slough Borough Council  and Slough for Youth logo present -  Document me: Independent Living]

The title in itself independent living is, is what it is, but independent living isn't as joyful and as as happy as everyone thinks. As you're growing up as a kid "Oh I can't wait till I'm 16 to leave home". You know I, I said that when I was younger. But it was when I left home at 16 it wasn't, it wasn't the rosy, the rosy fun fair trip that I thought it was going to be do y'know what I mean? And obviously I've ended up in a situation I'm in now.

It was okay when I first moved. It was exciting, it was hard work but it's pretty cool. But as it's progressed I've lived here a year and a half now and I kind of want to go back. 

[The realities of living independently]

People might think living by yourself "Oh yeah it's easy" because I get to do what I want to dududu. But it's not. I'd say if anyone thinks living by themselves is easy then I, then they don't know.

There's a lot of things I need to be aware of:

  • I need to pay my rent now
  • I need to deal with my council tax
  • make sure I've got money coming in all the time, whether that be through job seekers [allowance], through working.

Um It's very difficult trying to keep on top of

  • my shopping, uh
  • making sure that everything's tidy 
  • doing my washing. 

I don't get any of that done for me now so it's a lot of work.

You're not used to being with a whole set of completely new people. Living with like, loads and loads of people, you're not quite used to it. It's like, so it is hard like, Especially like doing your own cooking, doing your own dishes, doing  your own washing stuff like that. You've always, you might have always had your parents there to do it for you know. You've got to do it by yourself

I'm only allowed like someone to like stay over for like two nights. So, like my boyfriend, he's only allowed to stay two nights actually. I find that quite difficult. Some days I don't even get to see him.

[How I cope with money management]

It's just mainly budgeting you know. When you're obviously if you, if you are unemployed then you only get a certain amount to live on through the benefit system. It's a bit hard like to juggle your money y'know what I mean especially if you smoke. If you've got, if you, if you're addicted to nicotine do y'know I mean. Boom you've got to spend what? The price of a packet of fags [these] days of six quid and obviously the price of your rent or whatever to keep a roof over your head over your head. By the time you've done that you're left with nine pennies just to sort of budget between food and things. That it, it's not, it's not easy to live on your own. Do y'know? It's it's not unless you unless you're able to get and get a job and you've got a decent job and you're earning a decent wage. Living off the, off the government, the government wages is impossible

Yeah like when I first moved in, I had no money income, like I quit my job because any money that I was getting from my job my mum would take off me. So I ended up quitting before I moved in here. I was on no money income I was like, I've had problems with social services. So I'm a LAC child which is a looked after child And I had like I got told by my... for six weeks I didn't have no money income. I was constantly going to the store cupboard, constantly going to food banks and stuff. 

[How living independently affects my aspirations]

I just find it so difficult to be honest. Like there's nothing that sort of would catch me and sort of when I wake up in the morning sort of just tell me "yeah, let's get out of bed let's go do this". But everything's like yeah it's the morning again. It's another day that I've gotta try and get through.

The hardest thing is to actually know what you want to do in life. Because you end up, you end up thinking yeah you know what you're going to do in life but then you haven't got that option no more because now you're paying for your rent, your food, you're paying for everything. So you haven't got that option to save your money and decide what you really want to do. Like you won't be able to get a car, you won't be able, these things come off the list. You've got, you've got, now you've got a fund for yourself. You know you're only 15, 16, 17. I mean even, even people they're stuck in it and they're like my age, 27, they're still at their mom's house. Where they, they thought they was ready and they moved out when they was 15, 16, and now they'd have to move back.

[My advice for living independently]

Um well first of all try not to get kicked out at your parents house. Um appreciate what they do, that's what I didn't do. Um secondly I'd say ask for as much advice as you can  get. Um unfortunately like I said before the advice doesn't come to you, you have to go and get it.

Like I said you've got to have the right frame of mind to live by yourself. You can't say "Yeah I want to live by myself" Because it's not as easy as saying it. You need to think seriously think: can I afford this? Can I do this? Dududududu.

[If I could still live at home]

My advice is stay at home as long as you can. Um not because, I know everyone wants their independence, but independence comes at a price. Um and even if you don't have a good relationship with your parents, talk to them. I mean they're your parents they, they should they should love you. And like I said my family network is really strong, so that always comes first. And you'll be surprised how much they'll be willing to help you once you've mended the bonds between you.

Whatever you do, I think while you're in education it's best to live at home because you've got a roof over your head, more than likely your parents do pay your bills. You might chip in with a few bills, that's the best thing to do. But I think when you start working, it's better to stay at home for a while. Save your money and then go out there, rather than just go out there and have nothing. And then start from scratch.

If you can stay at home definitely, but learn you know get up every morning iron your own clothes, cook your own breakfast, you know don't rely on them to do it for you. It's all, it's good for you to do it yourself, you know because they're not always going to be there doing it for you. It's as simple as that you need to learn now for later, simple.

Stay at home as long as you can. "That's it I want to move out because i hate my parents and stuff like that". If I were you stay at home, show respect to your parents and stay there as long as you can. And save up some money and then hopefully you'll learn the the the value of a penny, and you can hopefully save inshallah save up for your mortgage. If you don't then you're gonna, you're gonna, you've got to spend constantly. I mean you've got to look after yourself. Your mum is the most beautifulest thing no one loves you more than your mum. She's gonna bathe you, she's gonna keep clothes on your back, she's gonna put a roof over your  head. 

As soon as you're 15, 16 you think "Nah she's getting me to clean my room this and that". In the end what you're going to do is just going to breeze off and then and you know then I mean you're going to be led, led to astray. I mean and all you're going to be doing oh what's it for? Is what? So you can smoke a zoot and not be bothered? You know it's not worth it man it's not worth it.

If you want advice on housing or anything else contact Young People Service 01753 476589 or email youthsupport@sloughchildrenfirst.co.uk  

Other local services offering housing support include:

  • Slough Homeless Our Concern (SHOC) 01753 577747 https://sloughhomeless.org.uk  
  • Slough Council - housing advice https://www.slough.gov.uk/homelessness 
  • Money helper search for "Paying your own way" https://www.moneyhelper.org.uk