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National Clearinghouse on Homeless Youth and Families


Worksheet for Youth Preparing to Find Housing

Clip art of a person calculating expenses.1. Clip art of a hand placing a key into a door.Describe your housing needs:

  • Where do you want to live? (location or area)

  • Do you want to live alone or with others?

  • Will children be living with you? (full-time, part-time?)

  • Clip art of a person walking a dogHow much can you afford for rent each month?

  • Do you need subsidized housing?

  • Do you need parking or access to public transportation?

  • Clip art of a lease sign.Clip art of a person in a wheelchair.Do you need to be on the first floor or to have wheelchair access?

  • Are you allergic to animals?

  • Do you want to share food?

  • Do you want a quiet environment?

  • Do you have a short-term and long-term plan? (For instance, do you want to plan to own a home in the future?)

  • How do you want to speak about your lack of a current address to landlords/ property managers?

2. Check your own credit history. Maintaining good credit is important, particularly when the time comes to rent your own apartment or purchase a home. Landlords and mortgage lenders use your credit history to determine whether you will be a reliable tenant or to determine what interest rate you would receive for a mortgage for your home. Monitoring your credit report is also important in these times where identity theft is common. You may order your credit report online free once a year from, which will give you the reports from the big three reporting agencies: Experian, Equifax, and Transunion.

3. Check your CORI (Criminal Offender Record Information).

  • If there is a possibility that you have a criminal record—e.g., you have been arrested before, been summoned to court or spent time in jail, a house of corrections, or prison—and you do not have a recent copy of your CORI, ask staff to help you obtain a copy of your CORI.

  • Know what is on your CORI; make sure it is accurate, make corrections, and prepare a case for why you should receive consideration in spite of the CORI.

4. Clip art of two people looking at a pc.Provide reliable contact information.

  • Offer a good phone number that has an answering machine or voice mail. Provide an E-mail address if you have one.

  • Give a work number if you have one.

Source: Rebecca Muller, Grantworks