Steps: Supported Lodgings Scheme

Steps Supported Lodgings Scheme helps young people aged between 16 – 21 (and occasionally, up 25) years old, who may be leaving care, are homeless, sofa surfing or at risk of homelessness.

Supported Lodgings provide young people with the opportunity to live in a family-like setting, within someone’s home, providing the householder with an opportunity to make a difference in a young person’s life.

By offering space in their home (and up to 10 hours of support a week), individuals can provide emotional support and help a young person develop the practical, everyday, skills that they need for adult life. This can include things such as:

  • getting into education, training or work
  • managing money
  • developing life skills such as learning to cook and do housework
  • attending appointments
  • building confidence.


Who can be a supported lodgings Host?

If you have a calm, relaxed and friendly attitude, an understanding and respect for young people and an ability to interact with young people fairly, honestly, openly and objectively, you could become a Host.

Your home will need to be big enough to offer the young person their own bedroom, you will need to provide them with meals and you will need to be comfortable with sharing your home with him / her – basically, letting them become a lodger in your home.


  • age
  • gender
  • faith or religion / lack of religion
  • marital status
  • sexuality
  • employment status

do not matter, and we also are not interested in whether or not your rent or own your home.

As long as you have a spare bedroom and the right approach and attitude towards helping young people we would like to hear from you.


What support will you get ?

All of the young people involved in the Supported Lodgings Scheme have a Social Worker and / or Personal Adviser to support them. Also, SHAP’s Project Worker will be available to help both the young person and you.

You will be able to access training from both SHAP and St Helens Council – as this is probably something completely new to you.

As staff work 9am – 5pm, Monday to Friday, telephone support outside of office hours is available.


How long can a young person stay with me ?

This will vary depending on the skills of the young person and could be anywhere from between a few months to a maximum of 2 years.

Supported Lodgings are not intended as permanent accommodation.

The probable length of their stay and a moving on plan is discussed before a young person moves in and these plans are regularly reviewed and altered as necessary.

You have the final say on who shares your home.


What’s in it for me?

The chance to make a difference to the life of a young person and help them develop positive live skills.

Also, you will receive a monthly payment to cover rent, bills (excluding use of the telephone) and food, as well as a payment in recognition of the support provided by you to the young person.


Mission Statement

We promote independence and empowerment by developing resilient communities, offering support to our clients with the prospect of working towards a brighter, stronger and more positive future.


How to access the scheme

Steps Supported Lodgings scheme will consider referrals from:

  • St Helens Children’s and Young Peoples Services (CYPS)
  • St Helens Housing Options & Advice Service

We do not accept self-referrals – all young people accessing the service must be referred by CYPS, Housing Options or have received an initial assessment.

How to apply:

If you are interested in finding out more about the Scheme or are considering becoming a Host, please contact us on 01744 454056 email us at or complete this form.

Contact us

Where to Find Us:

2nd Floor Lakeside Building
Alexander Business Park
Prescot Road
St Helens
WA10 3TT

Phone Number:

01744 454056

Email Address:

Get In Touch Today

Frequently Asked Questions

What will the young person be like ?

Like all groups of people, young people in this scheme will all be different. What they have in common is the need for a safe place to live, offering the right balance between support and freedom to enable them to develop skills for independent living. With each young person, we will try to match their needs with your strengths. The young people will have been in care; either in foster care or a children’s home. Others will be in a situation, where they can no longer live with their own family, possibly due to parental ill-health, relationship breakdown or abuse. Most of the young people choosing supported lodgings will be in work, education or training, or be committed and motivated to do so.

Can I be a host if I live in rented accommodation ?

You can probably house a young person without any problem, but you would need to check the terms of your tenancy to ensure that there are no restrictions such as sub-letting your home. It would be important to discuss this with your landlord

Can I be a host if I own my own home ?

If you have a mortgage, check with your lender to see if you need their permission. Make it clear that you will be living there sharing your home with a young person. It is important that they know that it is a supported lodgings placement and not a tenancy.

Depending on whether your property is freehold or leasehold may be another aspect that you need to look into. If it leasehold then you will need to check the terms of the lease in case you need permission from your leasehold company. If you have paid off your mortgage or it is a freehold property then you will not need to inform anybody. .

I get single person council tax discount, will I have to pay extra council tax for the young person ?

People under 18 years old, do not count as adults for council tax, so if you are claiming single occupancy, it will not be affected. Once the young person reaches the age of 18, then you will need to pay the full rate for council tax.

Will being a host affect my benefits ?

You will need to seek specialist advice or discuss this with the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) as it will depend if you are in receipt of means tested benefits and depend on your own personal circumstances.

I am in full-time / part-time employment, will I have to pay income tax on the money that I receive for providing supported lodgings ?

The income that you will receive from being a host is likely to be treated as income for the purposes of income tax. The majority of supported lodgings schemes are covered by the ‘Rent a Room’ or ‘Qualifying Care Relief’ tax scheme with HMRC so for you it may be tax-free, but it all depends on your total taxable income. The money that you receive for having a young person living with you in supported lodgings, should be added to your taxable income for the year. This is something that you would need to discuss with your employer and your local tax office. Please remember that you only receive money for supported lodgings when you have a young person placed with you, which is paid for the duration of their stay so may not be regular income.

What is the difference between supported lodgings, fostering and adoption ?

Adoption is a permanent arrangement that involves taking on full legal responsibility for a child until they reach adulthood.

Fostering is different as the young person remains the legal responsibility of the local authority and /or their birth parents. They live fairly geographically close to their own family and fostering provides an opportunity for other processes to work with the birth family to help resolve any issues which have resulted in the young person being placed in foster care.

With supported lodgings, the host does not have legal / parental responsibility for the young person; this remains with the local authority. The young person is a lodger in your home. .

Will I have to increase my insurance ?

You will need to inform your insurance company in writing that you intend to provide supported lodgings to young people. If they require specific information about the young person who will be placed with you, we will do our best to assist you with this. We recommend hosts to do this as like many different insurance policies, failure to disclose a change in circumstances may result in cover becoming void in the case of claim. It is important that you have buildings and contents insurance to cover the young person living there.

Can I be a host even if I am working ?

Yes, however you do need to live in the house and return there of an evening. If you work away from home, then being a host would not be possible. .

As a young person, if I move into Steps, will I have to pay anything to live there ?

If you are working, at college or doing an apprenticeship; then you will need to pay a small weekly amount to the host towards food. The actual amount will be calculated based on the wage that you receive and will be discussed with you by the project worker. In some cases this equates to £12 per week.

What happens to the young person, if I want to go on holiday or for a weekend away ?

We will discuss alternative arrangements with the social worker / personal assistant for the young person to be accommodated elsewhere whilst you are away. It is important that we have as much notice as possible to enable this to happen. A contingency plan for situations such as this will be included in the young person’s care plan prior to moving in with you.

Why does the young person need their own bedroom, can’t they share with one of my children ?

Everyone needs their own space. This is especially important for young people placed in the scheme, who may have experienced traumatic situation(s) and are having to adapt to life in a new home with different people and routines. In a time of turmoil and uncertainty, having their own space can be extremely comforting for looked after children. That is why we will only place a young person in a home where s(he) will have their own bedroom.

Can I be a host if I have a criminal record ?

A criminal record will not necessarily prevent you from becoming a host, but it is important that you are honest with us right from the start about any convictions you have. In return, we will be honest with you and tell you how it could affect your application. If you or any members of your household have any convictions related to offences against children, you will not be able to become a host.

How much will I know about the young person being placed with me ?

We will give you as much information as possible about the young person before the placement begins. In short, whatever we know, you will know too.

Will I be paid in between supported lodgings placements ?

No, we do not pay a retainer fee in between supported lodgings placements. We can only pay for the actual duration of the placement.

Will I meet the young person prior to them moving in ?

In most cases, you will have the opportunity to meet the young person before they move in; however this is not always possible if the young person is placed in an emergency. Where this happens, we will share as much information as possible with you before you decide whether to accept the placement.

Does it cost me anything to apply to become a host ?

Applying to become a host is free. However if you have lived outside the UK, we may ask you to pay for your own police check with that country and we will refund this if you are approved.

I am already a supported lodgings host or registered as a host with another provider / local authority. How do I transfer to the Steps Supported Lodgings Scheme ?

Transferring to us can be easier than you think. We will work with you and your current supported lodgings agency or local authority to make your move as easy and stress free as possible.

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