Having your own place is an important part of becoming independent. It will also give you a sense of maturity and accomplishment. But looking for housing can be tiring and stressful. You often have to search through endless rental magazines and newspapers and set up numerous appointments with landlords and superintendents to look at the housing.
You may want to look into inexpensive housing, like:
- a low rent apartment
- a rooming house
- other shared accommodations
Some places want you to pay first and last month's rent up front. You may also have to sign a lease. Some leases require that you give the landlord a certain amount of notice if you decide to leave. You may also have to sign other documents that can be confusing, especially if you have never lived by yourself before. Try to have a friend, relative or employee at a social service agency review the documents and help you fill out the forms.
If you are ready to find your own place you can get information and advice from:
- community newspapers
- rental magazines
- housing information and referral lines
- housing centers/offices in your school or university
- community centers
- friends and family
If you don't have enough money to pay for housing or you are living on the streets, you may want to consider moving into a temporary shelter. Many kids who live in shelters are homeless, on the streets, and/or don't have a permanent place to live.
If you choose to live in a shelter, you should know that you might not have a lot of privacy and freedom. You will be sharing sleeping areas, bathrooms and mealtimes with other kids. You will also have to follow rules and abide by a curfew. You may feel lonely or uncomfortable living in a shelter with kids you don't know.
Although it may be intimidating to live in a shelter, many provide services and information that can help you become independent, like:
- medical care
- information on employment, financial assistance and housing
If you are suddenly out of a home and have no money for housing you can get information about shelters and other housing alternatives from:
- bulletin boards in your community and school
- housing information and referral phone lines
- street youth services
- community centers and agencies
- Canada Employment Center or Human Resources Center Canada
- school counsellors
When you finally find a place to live, you may be amazed at how exciting and satisfying it feels to have a home to call your own!
Last checked: March 2010