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Fight for your rights

July 05 2015
Top tips to ensure you get the help you're entitled to

Top tips to help you get what you're entitled to.

1. You know what you are facing if you return home better than anyone. Make sure you get the right support that you are 100 per cent entitled to from your local authority. Check your rights first with Shelter (separate English and Scottish sites). All council libraries have free computer access.

2. If you know that going home isn't a good place for you to be then however hard it might feel, you have to say so. If you have been hurt or made to feel unsafe you have a right to talk in confidence but it may also mean that you will be asked to speak to a social worker/ police. The council is legally bound to make sure you are given protection.

3. If if you have fallen out with your family, most housing officers will check with your parents/carers that you can't go home. If there is any chance of reconciliation, they should offer you mediation. If you are told that isn't possible, you should ask for contact details for the nearest mediation service and insist on being housed until it is made available. This is your right.

4. Money is tight in councils and sometimes staff will make the wrong judgement call. If you are refused help, Shelter can help advocate for you, along with local services and charities.

5. If you are accommodated, it is likely to be in a young persons hostel, a general homeless hostel, a temporary flat and – where accommodation is short – B&B. All these places will have rules and regulations which you'll need to heed.

6. Take the support that is offered to you. Not only will it help you move on, but not engaging with workers can mean that services could be withdrawn from you.

7. Be prepared to spend a lot of time hanging around council offices and being sent from one place to another to sort out things like benefits, and to be moved from one accommodation to another.

8. Keep all your official documents in a safe place (birth certificate, national insurance number, passport, letters from DWP etc). Keep your phone charged and your charger safe.

9. Register with a GP immediately and tell them your circumstances. You may need their confirmation of your state of health (particularly mental wellbeing) at some point, so register now!

10. Getting a permanent home. Look after yourself and try to keep calm. If you've really not been offered support, complain!