Homelessness

Am I Homeless

You can be considered homeless if you:

  • have nowhere to stay in the UK or elsewhere
  • are living temporarily with friends or relations
  • have somewhere to live but are frightened to remain there because of violence or threats of violence from someone within the household or who previously lived with you
  • have somewhere to live but it is unreasonable for you to stay there because it is overcrowded and causing health problems
  • stay in a caravan, a mobile home or a boat and have nowhere to put it or moor it in order to live there

You may be threatened with homelessness if you are likely to lose your accommodation within two months. This could be because you:

  • have been asked to leave where you are living
  • are experiencing unfair treatment from your landlord
  • are unable to keep up with mortgage repayments or have fallen behind with your rent

Housing Options Interview

You are offered a housing options interview when you come to see us about a housing issue, for example you have been asked to leave your home, have rent arrears or are suffering harassment. This means we will look at your situation, and provide you with appropriate advice and guidance to help you.

One option may be to complete a homeless assessment form. A Housing Officer will explain the process of applying as homeless, and complete the assessment with you. We will gather all the information we need to make an assessment of whether or not you are homeless in line with Housing legislation.

You should provide some proof of identity at your interview, such as:

  • Birth certificate, passport, drivers licence

To help us provide you with the best advice, please take any information that may be appropriate to your housing circumstances, such as:

  • Letters or documents from your Landlord/Mortgage provider, including any tenancy agreements
  • A letter from parents/relatives/friends stating that they are no longer able or willing for you to stay with them

You have a number of rights that are explained to before the interview, which include:
At your Housing Options interview you will be provided with a Homeless Information Booklet in which your rights are summarised.

We can give you a written note of the advice and assistance we provide you with.

  • The interview is confidential (except where there are concerns of child or adult protection, where we would contact Social Work)
  • You can bring along a friend or advisor to the interview
  • If you need an interpreter or signer we can arrange this
  • If you would prefer to be interviewed by someone of the same sex, we can arrange this
  • We may contact others (with your consent) to make enquiries that will help us make a decision on your application
  • The information you give at the interview should be accurate. It is an offence to make a statement that is false
  • You will be asked to sign the application to confirm the details are accurate
  • If you need somewhere to stay while we are carrying out our investigations into your homeless application, we may offer you temporary accomodation
Your Assessment Decision

We will make a decision on your homeless application within 28 days. There is a possibility of 4 outcomes. A decision will be one of the following:

That you are homeless

We will provide you with temporary accomodation until we can help you find a settled home. A settled home is where you have stayed for at least 6 months or where you have a secure tenancy. This can be with SIC or Hjaltland Housing Association, or an assured tenancy (a home you rent from a private landlord or letting agency). If the Council does have a duty to help you find settled accommodation, your Housing Officer will discuss your housing options with you.

That you are threatened with homelessness

We will work hard with you to stop you becoming homeless. If you do become homeless, we will provide you with temporary accomodation until we can help you find a settled home (see paragraph above for a description of a settled home).

That you are intentionally homeless

If you have done something to make yourself homeless, we will provide you with temporary accomodation up until you have been assessed and a decision has been made. You will need to find your own settled accommodation, but we will provide advice and guidance along the way.

That you are not homeless

We will advise you about any rights you may have to continue to live in your accommodation.

If you do not have a local connection to Shetland, we will refer you to a local authority where you do have local connection. This may be where you have family, or where you have been staying most recently.

What is Temporary Accommodation?

Temporary accommodation is usually part-furnished and can be a self-contained property, shared accommodation, or Bed and Breakfast. We have properties throughout Shetland, and will look to accommodate you in your preferred area, however this may not always be possible. We provide temporary accommodation if:

  • You have nowhere else to stay whilst we look into your circumstances
  • You are appealing a homeless decision.
  • You are assessed as homeless

We also work in close partnership with Shetland Womens Aid, who may be able to provide refuge accommodation for women fleeing domestic abuse.

What if I Disagree With The Homeless Decision?

If you disagree with the decision we make, you have the right to appeal within 21 days of our decision letter. A form is included with your decision letter to help you appeal your homeless decision. You can also seek independent advice from:

Citizens Advice Bureau, 14 Market House, Lerwick 01595 694696
Advocacy Shetland, 14 Market House, Lerwick 01595 743929
Shelter Scotland 0808 800 4444