Leaving care Leaving care and getting your own place is a big step, so it's important that you're well prepared. The social services department has a legal duty to help you prepare. Even though you might have had enough of people interfering in your life, it's important to get what you're entitled to. So if you are you about to, or have you recently left care of a local authority and have not secured accommodation you need to contact our Housing Options Service. We can explain how to express an interest in social landlords or Housing Association properties, give advice on finding private rented accommodation and can refer you to Trafford Rent and Bond scheme if you meet the criteria. The earlier you let us help you, the more we can do to solve your housing difficulties. When you come to see us please bring all documents relating to your housing situation. Budgeting and rent Like anyone living on their own for the first time, you'll need to work out a budget and think about how you're going to pay for your accommodation before you leave. You may be able to get help from social services to pay a deposit, and you can also apply for a Community Care Grant to help you set up your own place, or a Crisis Loan or Budgeting Loan to pay rent in advance (see Shelter's Advice for care leavers web page or GOV.UK for more details). Help with housing costs You'll probably be financially dependent on Social Services until you turn 18. Most care leavers can't claim Housing Benefit until then, although there are some exceptions. Until you're 22, Housing Benefit will not be restricted to the rent for a single room as it is for other under-25s. Nowhere to stay? You may be eligible for temporary housing, either from the Social Services department or Trafford's Housing Options Service. Many 16- and 17-year-olds who have been in care should get help from social services, and many 18-, 19-, 20-year-olds who have been in care have a priority for housing from the Council. If you think you're entitled to help, but have problems getting them to help you, get advice straight away. Visit the Shelter website for more information.