Housing benefit (Explained)

So you’re still living at home and you find out that you’re pregnant. You know that there is not enough room at your parents’ house to bring up a child. Maybe you’ve already decided that you don’t want to be living there with your new baby. What are your options? Well, if in doubt you should seek professional advice. How do you get it?

Where can I get housing and financial advice?

I would recommend going to the citizen’s advice bureau or have a chat about accommodation with your health visitor. After all your health is their main concern. It’s no secret that council housing is scarce but that is not to say that there is no help.

Most governments throughout the UK offer housing benefit. This benefit is designed to help people to pay their rent. The amount you get depends on your specific circumstances like if you are earning a lot or not from your job. You may be eligible for help paying rent, if you are unemployed you may be eligible for help with money. Via Job seekers allowance, ESA for disability, or income support if you are unable to work due to being pregnant.

To find out if you are eligible for any benefits you should use this calculator which will evaluate your circumstances and advise If you are employed and are pregnant you will be entitled to maternity pay. This means that you can temporarily leave your job, whilst still being paid so that you can get through the rest of your pregnancy and focus on bonding with your baby.

About private properties

Private housing can be offered through an agency or landlord themselves, normally they require you to have a guarantor.  This is to prove that you will be a viable tenant, i.e. paying your rent, or bills on time. This is also a way of them checking to see whether you can afford the accommodation, and whether you have a previous history of antisocial behaviour or not.

Whilst private property is not as scarce as council housing, it is not completely secure as the landlord could decide that he wants his property back to live in or to sell up. In which case, you could be left homeless if you do not find somewhere else quickly. Another negative to privately renting is how expensive it is, to give you some perspective a two-bedroom house that is rented from the council could cost you around £700, whereas a private property that has the same features could cost £1500+

This is not an exaggeration, but it does depend on your areas. Whilst you could claim housing benefit for support with your rent, you would still expect to pay a lot out each calendar month. Not to mention that if you decide to rent through an agency, you may also need to pay some fees.

Emergency and temporary accommodation

Ryan and I were living at my mum’s house, when I found out that I was pregnant, I knew that we could not possibly bring up a baby in the current environment. This is because there was not enough space for all of us to live under one roof. As it was, before the baby came along, we were all cramped for space. The health visitor who visited once a week also agreed that it would not be a suitable home for a child and recommended that we went down to the council to ask for support as soon as possible.

We took her advice and went down and surprisingly we were housed that same night. This was because of arguments that occurred at the current property, and this put me at risk of losing the baby due to unwanted stress. From there we moved from a hotel to a studio flat, to a bigger flat and eventually a house. It has been a long process, and eventually, we were able to settle down and build our own businesses.

Problems with mold in temporary housing

mold on wall

The properties that the council use for emergency and temporary accommodation are not exactly the nicest of places. In our first flat, we had problems with extreme mould, and despite contacting environmental health and other agencies to help us, it didn’t make a difference.

To help you understand how bad the problem was, the walls in one of the bedrooms was completely wet with water running down it. We brought a dehumidifier to try help with the issue and managed to fill up a baby bath full of water per hour. Because of the extremities, the room became unusable and we had to all sleep in the kitchen. The bathroom was infested with silverfish (little insects, who eat damp and mold.)

To top that off, one night when we went out to our families house for dinner, we got home to find out that we had been burgled. We had our suspicions of the caretaker due to him coming into our flat unannounced even at early hours of the morning. Despite it being against the rules, Ryan changed the locks to ensure our safety.

The only reason we got out of that place is because of how wonderful our health visitor was, she would phone the council on our behalf and she got us moved. Not all of these accommodations are terrible but if you do find yourself in a terrible one just know that it is temporary.

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