What happens if I am homeless
We will firstly decide if you are homeless or not. You may have a tenancy or paternal home that you can reasonably return to because there is no risk to you being there. If you have a home that you can safely and securely live in which is affordable, we may find you not homeless.
What support we can give a homeless household is set out by law. For example, if you are homeless and haven’t done anything to cause this then we will normally give you temporary housing until we house you permanently.
We will consider the reasons why you became homeless when we assess your situation.
If we think that you have made yourself homeless because of something you have or have not done, we may say that you have made yourself homeless "intentionally". This means that even if you are homeless we do not have a legal duty to find you another home. However, we will give you advice, information and assistance to help you find housing. We will also normally give you temporary housing for a limited time. This is to give you time to find alternative housing.
We consider each case separately and, on its merits, but here are some circumstances in which we may decide that you have made yourself homeless deliberately:
- If you have been evicted for not paying your rent or mortgage even though you could afford to do so. This is why it is very important that you take up offers of money or benefit advice
- If you choose to sell your home when there was no risk of losing it
- If you voluntarily gave up suitable accommodation either here or abroad
- If you were evicted for antisocial behaviour
If we decide that you are unintentionally homeless and have a local connection, we have a duty to assist you to secure settled accommodation.
If this applies to you, we do not have a legal duty to find you another home. We will still give you advice, information and assistance to help you find housing.
A local connection to the area
If we decide that you are homeless, and have not made yourself homeless intentionally, we then have to decide whether you have a local connection with the Highland area.
If you do not have a connection with the Highlands but have a connection to another council area we may refer you to that Council and they will accommodate you.
If you do not have a local connection with any council area in Britain, then we will help you.
You will have a local connection with the Highlands if any of the following apply to you or anyone who lives with you:
- Have lived in Highland for at least six months during the previous twelve months, or not less than three years during the previous five years - this does not include time spent in prison within the Highlands.
- Have a job in the Highlands
- Have a close relative who resides in the Highlands
If there are other special circumstances which mean you need to live in the Highlands, we may decide that you have a local connection.
We will give your application additional housing need points and we will give you our decision in writing. When meeting with our homelessness officers, we will help you fill out an assessment form and ask you questions about things like your family and your health.
Please bring any letters or documents which relate to your housing difficulties, health or financial circumstances. The information will be kept confidential, and you can bring a friend, relative or any other person if you want. We will give you a decision within 28 days. We will consider the reasons why you became homeless when we assess your situation.
If we make a decision that you disagree with, you must write to our housing policy officer within 21 calendar days of receiving the letter telling you about our decision.
The review will be carried out by a senior member of the housing team not involved in your case, who will give their decision in writing as quickly as possible.
If you disagree with the review of the decision, there are no further appeal processes within the Highland Council. You can request a Judicial Review of your case. The Council will not assist you with this process and you should seek independent advice - for example, from a lawyer, CAB or Shelter if you wish to pursue a judicial review