are you at risk of homelessness?
- How do you get in touch with us?
- Am I homeless?
- Homeless interview
- What homeless decisions can be made?
- What if i disagree with the homeless decision?
- What is temporary accommodation?
Taking early action to prevent homelessness is our priority.
If you are at risk of losing your home within the next two months, please get in touch as soon as you can. Don’t wait until you become homeless.
We can offer advice and assistance based on your personal circumstances. This can help prevent homelessness and also help you consider alternative housing options.
The help we can offer depends on your circumstances. If our decision is that we have a legal duty towards you, we will help you find a home, but the type of home we can offer may not be what you expect.
We will give you the best service possible within our resources, but you should be aware our legal duty is to provide a settled home for those who are accepted as unintentionally homeless.
We have a legal duty to prevent and alleviate homelessness, as well as a duty to provide advice and assistance to help anyone at risk of homelessness.
If you are already homeless and cannot return to your accommodation, we will give you advice and help to find a new home. If you have nowhere to stay while we look in to your circumstances, we may provide you with temporary accommodation. We can also refer you on to other professionals and agencies for further advice.
You can download our Homeless Information Booklet (PDF) for further information.
If you are at risk of becoming homeless within the next two months you will be normally be seen on the same day by the Duty Housing Officer. Reception staff can explain the duty and appointment system to you to make sure you are offered the most appropriate appointment.
Assistance is also available outwith normal office hours via the Council's Duty Social Work service and is available between 5.00pm and 9.00am on 01595 695611.
During Office Hours (Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm):
Shetland Islands Council
6 North Ness
Freephone: 0800 212829
Fax: 01595 744395
Out of Office hours (between 5.00pm and 9.00am and public holidays)
Telephone: Duty Social Worker on 01595 695611
A person can be homeless if they (or anyone who would reasonably be expected to live with them):
- 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 them.
- have somewhere to live but it is unreasonable for them 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.
A person may be threatened with homelessness if they are likely to lose their accommodation within two months. This could be because they:
- have been asked to leave where they are living.
- are experiencing unfair treatment from their landlord.
- are unable to keep up with mortgage repayments or have fallen behind with their rent.
Anyone presenting as homeless can expect to have a confidential interview with a Housing Officer. The interview can take place in a private room at our offices at 6 North Ness, Lerwick or in another confidential environment.
You should provide some proof of identity at your interview, such as:
- birth certificate, passport, benefit book.
- birth certificate(s) of any children.
- proof of NI number such as payslips, DWP benefit book.
You can also bring any relevant proof of your circumstances, such as:
- proof of income weekly/2 weekly payments etc (for Housing Benefit purposes).
- where relevant a letter from parents/relatives/friends stating that they are no longer able or willing for you to stay with them.
- any letters or document from your Landlord including the lease agreement and any Notice to Quit.
- proof of pregnancy e.g. date of confinement, where relevant.
- confirmation of income & expenditure etc (in cases of a financial difficulty).
You have a number of rights that are explained to before the interview, which include:
- The interview is confidential (except where there is an allegation or threat to the safety of others). SIC Housing has a responsibility to seek assistance from Social Work if there are allegations of sexual abuse or other child protection issues.
- The homeless interview asks questions about your circumstances to help us make a decision in line with the homeless legislation.
- You can bring along a friend or advisor to the interview. You must be happy for them to be aware of all aspects of your application.
- 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. This is your declaration that the information you have given is correct and gives us permission to contact others to find out more or to confirm circumstances.
- Other staff within Housing may check some of the information in your application to make sure the correct decisions are made.
- If you need somewhere to stay while we are carrying out our investigations into your homeless application, we may offer you temporary accommodation.
- We can give you a written note of the advice and assistance we provide you with.
No matter what situation you are in, we have a legal duty to provide you with advice on waiting lists, procedures, housing options and financial or legal options. We will make a decision on your homeless application, normally within 28 days, and this decision may be:
- That you are homeless and not intentionally homeless. We will provide you with temporary accommodation until we can help you find a settled home. A settled home can be with the SIC, Hjaltland Housing Association or an assured tenancy in the private rented sector. 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 help you keep your current accommodation or help you find an alternative place to stay. If this is unsuccessful, we will provide you with temporary accommodation for a reasonable period of time as well as further advice and assistance.
- That you are not homeless. We will advise you about any rights you may have to continue to live in the accommodation you have been living in.
- That you are intentionally homeless. We will provide you with temporary accommodation and advice and assistance for a reasonable period of time while we help you look for your own accommodation.
- That you have no local connection with Shetland. If you have a connection with another area, we may refer you back to that local authority for further advice and assistance.
If we do not have a duty to help you find settled accommodation, you will be offered advice and assistance to explore the various housing options available.
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
Temporary accommodation is usually part-furnished and can be a house, shared accommodation, bedsit, bed and breakfast or a chalet. We have properties that we use as temporary accommodation throughout Shetland and may provide you with this while:
- We look in to your circumstances and you have nowhere else to stay.
- You look for a new home.
- You are appealing a homeless decision and this is being assessed.