Young parents

If you are a young parent thinking of leaving home, find out more about the different housing options that might be suitable for you and your children.

Young parents and social renting

If you are aged 16 or over, you can apply for a flat or a house with the council, a housing association or a housing cooperative. This type of accommodation is cheaper than private renting and you won't have to pay a deposit before you move in.

There are different ways to apply for social rented accommodation, however, whatever way you use you may have to wait a long time before you're offered a home.

Young parents and private renting

Many young parents rent a flat or a house from a private landlord when they leave home. Privately rented accommodation is more readily available than social housing, but it's also more expensive, and you'll need to pay a deposit and rent in advance as well.

Young parents and homelessness

You don't have to be sleeping on the streets to be homeless. The council might view you as being homeless if:

  • you live with your parents but they want you to leave
  • you are staying with friends or relatives in their home
  • the home you live in is seriously overcrowded or unfit for you to live in
  • you want to live with your partner but he or she cannot live with you in your current home.

If you think that you might be homeless you can make a homeless application to the council. The council will look at your application and decide if they have a duty to offer you permanent accommodation. If you have nowhere to stay when you make your application, the council should provide you with temporary accommodation.

Making a homeless application and going on the council or a housing association waiting list are two different ways of applying for housing. If you think that you are homeless, make sure you do both.

Supported accommodation for young parents

Some councils and voluntary organisations offer supported housing for young mothers in special hostels or units, with support workers on hand to help you adjust to being a young parent and living independently. Support workers can offer advice on benefits and other financial issues, education and employment opportunities. They will also help you prepare for moving into accommodation without support. Contact your local council to find out if there is any supported accommodation in your area.

Student accommodation for young parents

If you are planning to leave home to go to university or college, you may be able to get help to find accommodation from the university or college's accommodation service. Some universities and colleges have student accommodation that is suitable for young parents. Alternatively, the accommodation service may be able to provide you with a list of privately rented accommodation in the area that might be suitable for you.

Find out more about student accommodation.

How will I pay for my accommodation?

The section on benefits available for parents has more information on the help available to young parents.

Once you've left home

When you move into your new place, you may feel a bit daunted by the prospect of looking after a home and your children on your own. If you feel isolated, lonely or have worries about childcare or money you can contact:

  • Parentline Scotland on their free confidential helpline for young parents and anyone caring for a child in Scotland. Advisers will listen to your problems and let you know where you can get further help and information. Tel: 08000 28 22 23.
  • One Space and One Parent Families Scotland have helpful advice for single parents.
  • Breathing Space, a free, confidential phone line you can call when you're feeling down and need someone to talk to. Tel: 0800 83 85 87

The important points

  • If you are 16 years old or older you can apply for housing from the council, housing association or a housing cooperative.
  • Making a homeless application and going on the council or a housing association waiting list are two different ways of applying for housing. If you think that you are homeless, make sure you do both.
  • Some councils and voluntary organisations offer young mothers supported accommodation, to help you adjust to being a young parent and living independently.

Speak to a Shelter Scotland adviser

Call Shelter Scotland's free housing advice helpline

0808 800 4444
9am-5pm, Monday to Friday

Email an adviser

You can also email a housing adviser. We aim to respond within three working days.

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