Homelessness is something that happens to many people at some stage in their lives. Society has for many years accepted that it must find accommodation for people who become 'homeless', as defined by the Housing (Scotland) Act 1987 amended by the 2001 Act and the Homelessness etc (Scotland) Act 2003.
‘A person will be considered homeless if they have no accommodation in the United Kingdom or elsewhere' (Housing (Scotland) Act 2001).
Local authorities have a legal duty to help homeless people - firstly by interviewing them and assessing their housing situation and secondly by offering them temporary or settled accommodation - provided the applicant's circumstances warrant it and according to criteria laid down in Part II of the Housing (Scotland) Act 1987 and amended by the Housing (Scotland) Act 2001. All people found to be homeless are entitled to temporary accommodation.
An applicant who is homeless will be provided with temporary accommodation for a period of time. If the applicant is in “Priority Need” (see Section 1.2), unintentionally homeless and has a connection to the Highland area, they will be made an offer of settled accommodation - however, they may have to live in temporary accommodation until a suitable vacancy arises.
From May 2008, Highland Council entered into a partnership with Albyn Housing Society; Cairn Housing Association; Lochaber Housing Association; Lochalsh & Skye Housing Association and Pentland Housing Association to form the Highland Housing Register (HHR). There are just over 11,400 applicants on the HHR, which includes general needs (waiting list applicants) and transfer applicants (applicants who are already tenants but wish to move to another house). It also includes those applicants who are, or are likely to become, homeless.
In 2010 - 2011, 2,090 households approached the Council for help, as they were either homeless or threatened with homelessness. Throughout 2010/11 nearly 1,300 households required temporary accommodation, and 913 households were offered and accepted permanent tenancies. A total of 1745 households from the housing list, including households who had been homeless, were offered and accepted permanent tenancies as and when they became vacant.
It is very important to know how the Council deals with homeless applications and assesses someone's housing needs and why they give greater priority to some needs than to others.
The following sections give detailed information on the help and advice the Council can give to people who face becoming homeless. You will also find more information about how the Highland Housing Register partners allocate houses in Section 1.2.
Contact details for the Homeless Prevention Team, Area Housing and Property Offices and Service Points can be found in Appendix A at the end of the guide.
Questions that are frequently asked by people who think they might be homeless, along with the answers, can be found at Appendix E. This section is designed to be printed off and given to anyone who might need it. It is also on the Councils’ website at:
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