Young parents

What do I need to know?

If you are a young parent, you may be able to get some help with housing and apply for benefits to help pay your bills.

There are lots of housing options but it is important you think carefully before you decide where to go.

Make sure the place you choose is suitable for you and your family, and make sure it is somewhere you can afford.

If you are staying with friends or family temporarily and have no place to call your own, you are probably experiencing ‘hidden homelessness’ and entitled to help from your local council.

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There are lots of different options but think carefully about what sort of place you need and what you can afford.

  • Rent a place from the council

Most councils give you a 12 month introductory (or trial) tenancy. After the first 12 months, if everything works out, it will be changed to a secure tenancy. The rents on council tenancies are often lower than others and you usually have stronger rights than with other landlords.

  • Rent a place from a housing association

Most housing associations give you a 12 month starter tenancy (sometimes known as an ‘assured shorthold‘ tenancy). After the first 12 months, if everything works out, it will be changed to an assured tenancy. The rents on housing association tenancies are often lower than others and you have relatively strong rights.

  • Rent from a private landlord

Private landlords usually give you a fixed term assured shorthold tenancy for 6 or 12 months. If the landlord is happy for you to continue to live there after this first period has ended, then your tenancy can continue on a periodic basis. Private landlords often ask you to pay a deposit and some rent up front. Private tenancies can be ended quite easily by the landlord and very often the landlord does not have to give a reason to kick you out. Private landlords and letting agents must be registered and licensed.

  • Move in to supported accommodation

Supported housing means you can get help and day to day support. The length and type of support you get depends on your situation and what you and your family need.

Download our accommodations options chart to work out what kind of accommodation is best for you.

If you do not have anywhere suitable to stay and are over 18 you can apply to your local council’s housing department for help. As a young parent the council should help you and your family find somewhere to live.

Find your local council using the GOV.UK search tool on the right hand side of this page.

Tell the council that you want to make a homelessness application. You can do this over the telephone or in person by going to the council’s housing department.

Use our Homelessness Application Guide to find out what will happen next.

If you have nowhere to stay, the council should offer you emergency housing while they decide what other help they can give to you.

If you are under 18, you should contact your local social services department urgently. To find your local social services, click here.

If you are in danger of losing your home in the next 56 days and you are over 18 you can apply to your local council’s housing department for help. As a young parent the council should try and help you stay where you are living (if it is safe) or perhaps help you to find somewhere else more suitable. Most parents and pregnant women are in priority need, so usually they should also offer you somewhere to stay in an emergency too.

Contact your local council and ask to make a homelessness application. You can do this over the telephone or in person by going to the council’s housing department.

You do not have to be sleeping on the street to get help from the council. For more information and a step-by-step guide about what will happen when you ask for help, click here.

We’ve put some help on our YouTube channel too so have a look and subscribe for more updates.

If you are under 18, you should contact your local social services department urgently. To find your local social services, click here.

If you are on a low income you might be able to claim housing benefit or universal credit housing costs to help you pay your rent. There are special rules about claiming housing benefit if you plan on renting from a family member or if you are a student so make sure you check whether these apply to you.

The single-room rate which limits the help most young people can get does not apply if you have children, but if you move into a council or housing association place the bedroom tax might apply to you. This means that if you are classed as having a spare bedroom your housing benefit or universal credit housing costs might be reduced.

Find out more about the bedroom tax here.

If you are struggling to pay your rent as a result of the bedroom tax, you could apply to your local council for a discretionary housing payment (DHP).

If you are 18 or over you should be able to claim universal credit, income support or jobseeker’s allowance if you need to. Find out more about benefits and what help you can get with parenting and childcare from Gov.uk.

The amount of universal credit you get depends on your income and family situation. The amount you get will also be limited by:

  • the benefit cap – the total amount of benefit that you can get in Wales is currently £384.62 per week for single parents or couples with children. If the total amount of benefit you receive is more than this, your housing benefit or universal credit will be reduced
  • the 2 child limit – since 6 April 2017 universal credit has been limited to 2 children. This means that you won’t get an extra amount of universal credit for a third or subsequent child born on or after 6 April 2017. There are some situations where this rule doesn’t apply so make sure you get advice if you think this might apply to you.

If you have been looked after by social services in the past you might be able to have some financial help. Read more on leaving care here.

Single parents may be able to apply for grants to help meet everyday costs or even one off purchases. You can read more about grants and how to apply here.

In an emergency, you may be able to get help from the Discretionary Assistance Fund (DAF), which provides urgent grants to people in Wales as a last resort. Anyone over the age of 16 can apply. These grants do not have to be paid back.

Food banks provide food parcels to people in need. Some food banks offer a hot meal and advice. Contact the Trussell Trust to find your nearest food bank.

It’s worth working out a budget to keep a track of your household spending. Use this budget planner to keep a track of your cash.

There is lots of other emergency help out there. Click here to read more.

You can also chat to a Shelter Cymru adviser or use our Support Near You tool to find other services who can help you in your area.

Homelessness Application Guide

Step-by-step guide to making a homelessness application.

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Rydym yn ymddiheuro na fedrwn ddarparu’r wybodaeth yma yn Gymraeg, ond os hoffech siarad ag ymgynghorydd yn Gymraeg yna cysylltwch ar 08000 495 495.
We are sorry that we cannot provide this information in Welsh, however if you would like to speak to an adviser in Welsh please contact 08000 495 495.

This page was last updated on: August 13, 2020

Shelter Cymru acknowledges the support of Shelter in allowing us to adapt their content. The information contained on this site is updated and maintained by Shelter Cymru and only gives general guidance on the law in Wales. It should not be regarded or relied upon as a complete or authoritative statement of the law.