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3.13.4 Assessing Housing Need: Care Leavers


This protocol is intended to improve joint working between the Leeds City Council’s Environment and Neighbourhoods Department, Children’s Social Work Services, OWL (Our Way Leeds), support projects and the Leeds ALMOs, and outlines how referrals for re-housing of young people leaving care should be managed.

This includes referrals made for unaccompanied asylum seeking children who have been given leave to remain in the UK.

The protocol applies to the young person’s initial approach for housing. If the young person makes a subsequent approach (after being re-housed by Leeds City Council or re-housed via a nomination by a RSL), their application should be dealt with in line with the lettings policy.

The protocol should be used to refer young people for a planned move into a council property, not for temporary accommodation. The protocol relates only to the re-housing of young people Leeds City Council has a corporate parent duty to.


Leaving Care Procedure


In August 2022, this chapter was refreshed in line with local guidance.


  1. Referring for Council Accommodation
  2. Where to Refer To
  3. Finding a Home
  4. Offers of Accommodation
  5. Contact Details

1. Referring for Council Accommodation

The young person will be eligible to be considered for re-housing on the LHR from their 16th birthday or the date they became eligible.

Care leavers may be supported by one of the following agencies who can refer them for re-housing:

  • Leeds City Council Pathway Planning Team (who may also make referrals for young people supported by OWLy);
  • Leeds Childrens Social Work Service: Including CLA Team, Care Leavers Service and Area Social Work Teams.

Leeds Childrens Social Work Service teams will assess the young person’s housing situation and eligibility for support.

If the young person needs re-housing, they will complete the following with the care leaver:

At the point of making an application for housing, housing will accept the written referral from Children’s Services as proof of identity for care leavers aged 16-17. Full proofs will be required when the customer reaches the age of 18, and at point of sign up to a council tenancy.

OWL staff will make referrals for the young people they are supporting, and forward them to the relevant Childrens Social Work Team to confirm the council has a duty towards the young person, who will then forward the form on to Housing Options.

In all cases, the referral will:

  • Include details of the type of accommodation which would be suitable for the young person, including details of support networks, employment and training, family contacts, as well as any geographical areas which should be avoided; and
  • Confirm the level of support they, and any other agencies, will be providing to the young person to help them manage their tenancy.

2. Where to Refer To

The paperwork listed above should be forwarded to the nominated officer in Housing Support, who will register the form and flag the application with a User Defined Characteristic (UDC) that the customer is a ‘Pathway Planner’. Contact details of the young person’s Personal Adviser / Social Worker will be added to the notes on the housing application. This flag will appear on the front screen whenever the application is opened.

Staff will award ‘Band A - Additional needs: children’ for 120 days to enable the young person to make expressions of interest in properties advertised through the Leeds Homes choice based lettings scheme. The priority award will be backdated to the date of their 16th birthday or, where the referral is made for an unaccompanied asylum seeking child, to the date they became eligible for assistance.

Housing Support will then forward the housing application form to the ALMO office of first choice.

3. Finding a Home

Care leavers will normally be expected to use the CBL scheme to secure re-housing, which may include officers placing assisted bids on behalf of the young person.

Young people who have been awarded Band A priority may be offered a property relatively quickly, because the priority award is backdated to their 16th birthday. This means the young person should only bid on properties they would accept if offered.

Where a care leaver is unable to secure accommodation through the choice based lettings scheme. Arms Length Management Organisations (ALMO) can consider making them a direct offer of accommodation under the direct letting category ‘Corporate Parent’.

4. Offers of Accommodation

Offers of accommodation will be made in writing to the young person. Offers of accommodation must be suitable, as defined under NI 137: ‘Accommodation is to be regarded as suitable if it provides safe, secure and affordable provision for young people. Accommodation that clearly exposes the person to risk of harm or social exclusion by reason of its location or other factors should be coded as 'unsuitable'.’

Young people leaving care will normally be made one reasonable offer of accommodation. An unreasonable refusal may result in them losing their priority award.

All 16 and 17 year olds will need a trustee who will act as a ‘responsible adult’ who can be contacted about any tenancy issues such as arrears. The trustee is not a guarantor, and is not required to financially underwrite the tenancy. A nominated representative of the responsible Childrens Social Work service team OWL can act as the trustee in their professional capacity.

5. Contact Details

Care Leavers Service
Hunslet Hall Annex
Disraeli Terrace
LS11 6AU

Tel: 0113 3789988

95 Roundhay Road

: 0113 391 8000

Housing Options – Leeds City Council- 0113 222 4412

If you are working with a care leaver and have concerns or questions about their accommodation, you can speak to the Placements Service on 0113 3783662.

Care leavers can speak to their personal advisor for help with their accommodation, or they can go to the drop-in service at Leeds Housing Options, City centre hub, Merrion House in the city centre, for assessment and support. Leeds Housing Options can also be contacted by phone on 0113 222 4412.