Homelessness

 Questions & Answers | Useful Contact Information

If you have nowhere to live, or if you are worried about losing your home, or if you would like to discuss your housing options, please contact our homeless service who may be able to help you stay in your own home or can assist you to find other accommodation.

Here are some Questions and Answers about homelessness:-

1: What can I do if I am homeless or about to become homeless?

2: I’m not going to be homeless immediately, but I’m worried that this might happen in the future. What should I do?

3: What if I need help in an emergency and the Homeless Service offices are closed?

4: What help is available if I am suffering from domestic violence or abuse?

5: What happens when I contact the Homeless Service?

6: How long will it take the Council to make a decision on whether I am entitled to permanent housing?

7: What can I do if I am not satisfied that the Council has made the correct decision on my application?

8: Will I be housed as a result of my homelessness application?

9: Are there other ways to apply for housing?

10: Who else can give me information and advice on my housing situation?

Q1: What can I do if I am homeless or about to become homeless?

A: You can contact the Homeless Service staff in person, by phone, email or text. We can arrange a face to face appointment with you so that we can discuss your options and give you the appropriate advice and assistance to help resolve your housing difficulties. You may wish to make a formal homeless application and we will help you with this. If it is not possible for you to get to one of our offices we can take an application or help you otherwise by phone.

Q2: I’m not going to be homeless immediately, but I’m worried that this might happen in the future. What should I do?

A: If you have problems that may result in you losing your home, please get in touch with us as soon as possible – we may be able to help prevent you from becoming homeless.

All Homeless Service staff are trained to Scottish National Standards for Information and Advice Providers and we can help you access useful information and advice on all sorts of topics that may affect your future housing security – rights and responsibilities of tenants and landlords, security of tenure, money advice, relationship breakdown and much more.

If we can’t directly provide the specialist advice that you need, we can refer you to an agency that can help.

Q3: What if I need help in an emergency and the Homeless Service offices are closed?

A: We operate an out-of-hours emergency phone service on 0345 056 5457. A member of Homeless Services staff is always available to assist in an emergency out with office hours, at weekends or on public holidays.

If it is not an emergency situation please contact your nearest local area office during office hours.

Q4: What help is available if I am suffering from domestic violence or abuse?

A: If you are suffering domestic abuse or are in fear of abuse or harassment from your partner or a former partner and need alternative accommodation you can contact your local area office for confidential advice and assistance.

Specialist assistance and support is available from Women’s Aid locally or nationally. The local contact number for Women’s Aid is 0870 241 3548

Advice is available for male victims of domestic abuse on www.mankind.org.uk.

Q5: What happens when I contact the Homeless Service?

A: To begin with you will be offered an interview, either by telephone or face-to-face depending on your circumstances, to discuss your housing situation and you may wish to make a homeless application at this time. You may be offered temporary accommodation if you need it while we assess your application.

The assessment of homeless applications has up to three stages:-

  • First we assess whether you are homeless as defined by legislation. Click here for a definition of “homeless” This can apply if you are not yet homeless but are likely to become homeless within two months
  • If you are assessed as homeless, we will confirm that you did not become homeless intentionally as defined by legislation
  • We may also look at your local connection to Argyll and Bute

Alternatively you may find that the information and advice that we give you is sufficient to resolve your housing difficulty. We can also help you to access any support that you need.

Q6: How long will it take the Council to make a decision on whether I am entitled to permanent housing?

A: We will always try to reach a decision on any homeless application within 28 days, and in many instances we reach a decision much earlier. However there are times where an applicant’s circumstances can take longer to assess – for example, where there are complex issues or we have difficulty getting the information that we need.

We will keep all applicants informed about how their application is progressing as it is assessed.

Applicants will be advised of the Council’s decision in writing, with an explanation of how the decision was reached and area Homeless Service staff will be available to discuss any questions that you have.

If you do not agree with any decision we make through the course of your application, you may request a review of the decision.

Q7: What can I do if I am not satisfied that the Council has made the correct decision on my application?

A: If you do not agree with our assessment of your application, or disagree with the reason/s that led us to our decision, you can ask us to review our assessment.

You have 21 days from the date of the decision is made to request a review. If we have provided you with temporary accommodation while considering your application this will continue until your request for review is considered.

You can ask for a review in writing or verbally to a member of our area Homeless Service staff. It is important that you tell us why you consider the decision to be wrong and give as much information as you can in support of your appeal.

Your request for review will be considered by a member of Housing Services who is senior to the officer who made the original decision, and who had no part in reaching the original decision.

If you disagree with the decision reached on your appeal you may make one further request for review. This will be considered by another member of Housing Services who is senior to the officer who considered the first request for review and who has had no previous involvement in your case.

Q8: Will I be housed as a result of my homelessness application?

A: This will depend on our assessment of your circumstances.

Here are the most common decisions on homeless applications.

Depending on the decision made on an application the Council will:-

  • Find permanent housing for you (and provide temporary accommodation for you if you need it until permanent accommodation becomes available)
  • Offer you temporary accommodation if you need it for a reasonable period and give you advice and assistance to help you secure other accommodation

Argyll and Bute Council no longer has housing stock available, but have an agreement with our four Housing Association partners in HOMEArgyll which means that we can access housing allocations for homeless households.

Applicants should note that there is generally a significant waiting time for social housing even when being housed through the homeless route.

Q9: Are there other ways to apply for housing?

A:There are various options available to people seeking re-housing in both the private sector and the social rented sector.

Private Sector properties - Properties for sale or rent in the private sector are generally widely advertised in local papers, solicitors and property centre window displays and websites and in small advertisements in shops and supermarkets.

Rent Deposit Guarantee Scheme – Argyll and Bute Council operates this scheme which can help people to access rented accommodation in the private sector. Instead of a new prospective tenant having to find the deposit that is often required, the council will guarantee that the deposit will be paid if any damage is done to the property while the tenant is living there. The tenant will agree to reimburse the Council for the cost of any loss or damage to the property caused by an act/s of neglect or negligence by themselves or their visitors.

Housing in the social rented sector – Argyll and Bute Council no longer has housing stock (Council Houses) available for rent.

However we are in partnership with four housing associations within Argyll and Bute through HOMEArgyll , the common housing register for this area, and people can apply to any of these housing associations for housing.

For information on how to apply to any of these housing associations please visit the HOMEArgyll website. Here, you can also information on other housing options including specialist housing for older people.

Q10: Who else can give me information and advice on my housing situation?

A: Independent and impartial information and advice on housing issues is available from Shelter (Scotland) by calling 0808 800 4444

If you can’t find the answer you need on this website please contact your nearest local office.