Young people in Wales have had to make big changes to their lives because of coronavirus.
It is okay to feel frightened and worried.
There is still lots of help and support available – we’ve given the details of national organisations that can help you below.
It is important that you continue to pay your rent if possible.
If you are struggling to pay, get in touch with your landlord as soon as you can and look at our advice to find out what help you can get sorting out your money.
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- Your local council will still be able to help you.
- Depending on your situation the council might be able to stop you becoming homeless or, if necessary, find somewhere for you to stay and keep safe.
- Contact the housing department at your local council as soon as you can and ask to make a homelessness application.
- If you are not sure which council you fall under, you can check here.
- If the council say that they cannot see you face-to-face they should still be able to take an application from you over the phone.
- If you are sofa surfing it might be hard for you to keep to the rules about social distancing and staying indoors.
- Even though you have a roof over your head you are still classed as homeless and your local council should be able to help you.
- Contact the council and ask to make a homelessness application.
- If you are in priority need then the council should provide you with suitable emergency accommodation so that you can keep safe during the pandemic.
Lots of young people are struggling because they have lost their jobs or their income has dropped because of the pandemic. Maybe you were on a zero hours contract and / or your employer’s business has closed.
Don’t bury your head in the sand.
You still need to pay your rent if you can, otherwise you could be evicted.
If you are having problems with your rent, contact your landlord as soon as you can. They might be understanding and agree to late payments or to reducing your rent for a period.
Use this sample wording to put together a letter, text or email to your landlord or agent. Make sure any agreement you make is put in writing (a text or email is fine).
If you are on benefits, make sure you are getting everything you are entitled to. If you are getting universal credit or housing benefit you might be able to apply for a discretionary housing payment to help with your housing costs.
- If you want to leave your tenancy early because of coronavirus (for example, you are a student and have had to return home to be with your family), you must make sure you end your tenancy correctly.
- You will still be responsible for paying your rent whilst your tenancy is continuing, even if you are not living there.
- Check your tenancy agreement to see if it says anything about paying rent when you are not at the property or ending the tenancy early.
- Contact your landlord as soon as you can and explain your situation.
- You can only end a fixed term tenancy early if your tenancy agreement has a break clause or you negotiate an early end to the agreement with your landlord.
- Your landlord may be sympathetic to your request to leave if they understand your reasons. For example, if you have had to move urgently because you or a family member was sick or needed support.
- If you need to collect your belongings from a tenancy that you have already moved out of, take a look at this Welsh Government guidance first.
Find out more about leaving a tenancy early here.
- If you have a tenancy agreement, then your landlord cannot just ask you to leave, they must follow proper steps to evict you.
- These steps still apply during the coronavirus pandemic.
- Emergency laws mean that, in most cases, you are entitled to 6 months notice before your landlord can apply to court to evict you.
- It is illegal for your landlord to make you leave without giving you the right amount of notice or getting a court order.
- It is also illegal for your landlord to lock you out of your home.
You can find out more about illegal evictions here.
- If staying at home puts you at risk of abuse from someone else in the household, there is help available
- If you are in immediate danger, call 999
- If you are worried that talking would put you in further danger, you can use The Silent Solution System. When you call 999, an operator will ask which emergency service you need. If you are unable to talk, hold the line until you hear the message “you are through to the police”. You should then press 55 – your call will be transferred to the local police as an emergency.
- If you have to leave because of abuse or threats of abuse, contact your local council, they should be able to help you with finding somewhere to stay. Find out more about what help you may be able to get here.
- If you feel that you are being abused and need to talk to someone, there are organisations open – use our search tool below.
You might be able to get benefits if :
- you lose your job
- you can’t work because you’re sick or self isolating
- your pay goes down.
Use the entitledto benefits calculator to see what you can claim.
If you are of working age you might be able to apply for universal credit (UC). UC can include a claim for help with your housing costs, including rent payments. You usually have to wait 5 weeks before your first payment but you might be able to get a UC advance within a few days if you are unable to wait.
Claims for UC are made online. Once you have applied online, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) will make an appointment to talk to you, either over the phone or face-to-face. If you have a disability or illness that affects your work, you may need a medical assessment in relation to your claim. Click here for more details about how to apply.
To find out more about applying for benefits during the coronavirus pandemic click here.
You might be able to get help or an exemption from paying your council tax. This includes where :
- you are on a low income
- everyone in your home is a full time university or college student
- everyone in your home is under the age of 18, or
- you are a care leaver under the age of 25.
You can find more information about the help you can get paying your council tax here.
Food banks provide food parcels to people in need. Contact the Trussell Trust to find your nearest food bank and then contact them to see what they offer in your area.
Other household bills and essential expenses
You may be able to get an Emergency Assistance Payment from the Discretionary Assistance Fund (DAF) to help cover essential expenses as a last resort. Find out more here.
If you are a university student and struggling with money, contact your NUS Students Union and ask about applying to the university hardship fund. Some universities have set up crowdfunding pages to raise money for students who need financial help during the pandemic. For more information on student support go to gov.wales.
If you are feeling anxious or stressed during this difficult time there are helplines that can support you.
You can call the Samaritans for free on 116 123, their lines are always open and you can talk to them about anything.
There are also charities and even apps that can help with managing anxiety:
Boloh is a Covid-19 helpline and webchat for Black, Asian or Minority Ethnic people age 11+, providing help and advice in many different languages.
Clear Fear is a free app to help recognise, manage and reduce your anxiety and fear.
Use our Support Near You tool to find services and organisations who can help you now.
Even if you have been unable to live in your rented student accommodation because of coronavirus, you are still liable to pay rent. Contact your landlord or accommodation provider and explain your situation. Depending on the circumstances, they may come to an agreement with you to reduce the rent during the pandemic or some other arrangement. If you are unsure of the agreement that your landlord offers to you, it is important that you get advice.
If you are in financial difficulty and having trouble paying your rent, contact your landlord or letting agent immediately. If they are unable to help with changing the cost of rent, you may be able to access funding provided by Welsh Government to support students facing financial hardship. Contact your university or students’ union for further information.
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- LAC / Leaving Care
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