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Homelessness and Temporary Accommodation


If you think you will become homeless in the near future contact us straight away for advice. Please do not wait until you do not have anywhere to stay - we may be able to prevent you becoming homeless.

A free phone number is provide at 0800 032 3450.

The Council provides a 24 hour service for people who are homeless or potentially homeless. During office hours a Housing Needs Officer will see customers at their local Customer Information Centre.

Out with office hours customers can make contact using 01506 280000 where a Customer Service Adviser will deal with their enquiry. Alternatively contact the police 


Moving into Health
If you are experiencing health difficulties and are homeless or at risk of homelessness or supporting someone who is homeless, you can contact Moving into Health

Moving Into Health
Homeless Health Team
West Lothian Civic Centre
Howden South Road
EH54 6FF
Tel: 01506 282010

We are a team of health workers, who can support you to access appropriate services, treatment and interventions to improve your wellbeing, mental and physical health.

Aiming to Improve and maintain the Health & Wellbeing of  People who experience Homelessness in West Lothian.

updated 13/05/2013

Frequently Asked Questions

Click a question to see the answer.

What decisions on my homelessness application can I appeal against?

You have the right to appeal against any of our homeless decisions. There are several grounds on which you can appeal: 1) that your written homeless determination is wrong for whatever reason 2) that an offer of temporary accommodation is unreasonable (this means you think the offer of temporary accommodation would make you overcrowded; or is not reasonable for you to live there; or does not meet the special needs of any person who lives with you; or does not consider the best interests of your children.) 3) that an offer of permanent housing is unreasonable (this means you think an offer of permanent accommodation made by your local Housing office would make you overcrowded; or is not reasonable for you to live there; or does not meet the special needs of any person who lives with you; or does not consider the best interests of your children.) You cannot appeal against a decision when you have already appealed it.

What do 'homeless' and 'threatened with homelessness' mean?

The laws about homelessness are very complicated but 'homeless' broadly means having no housing that is reasonable for you and the people who normally live with you, to carry on living in. You are 'threatened with homelessness' if you are likely to become homeless within the next 2 months, for example, if you have been taken to Court by your landlord and the Court has said you must leave your home within 2 months.

What happens if you uphold my appeal against a homelessness request decision?

If your appeal is upheld, this means that the Officer thinks that the original decision was wrong or that the offer of housing made was unreasonable. S/he can either replace the original decision with one of his/her own (in the case of homeless decisions) or can advise the housing office that the offer that was made should be treated as if it had never been made.

What is a Short Scottish Secure Tenancy?

A Short Scottish Secure Tenancy (Short SST) is a tenancy which lasts for a specified period of time, of at least 6 months, which can be terminated as soon as it reaches its end. If you have an SSST, you are not eligible to buy your council house.

What is Housing Support?

Housing support is a service to help you maintain or set up your home and meet any duties or responsibilities you have as a householder. Housing support encourages you to live independently in your home and gets you access to the other services like a dentist or a doctor. Housing support can help you live independently, give you confidence and help you to do things for yourself.

What is temporary accommodation?

'Temporary' accommodation means housing we let to homeless people until we make the decision on their application.

What should I do if I'm homeless or think I will become homeless?

Immediately you have housing difficulties, wherever you are living at the time, please contact your local Area Housing Office for help and advice as soon as possible. This can help to avoid a crisis. We may be able to prevent you becoming homeless. We will also give you advice and information which might stop you from becoming homeless. For example, you can get money advice if you are having trouble paying your mortgage or rent, advice on your rights if you are a tenant or advice if you are separating from your partner. If you have nowhere to stay, the Council will normally arrange temporary accommodation for you, at least for a period of time.

What should I take with me to the meeting to assess my homelessness housing application?

Please take any letters or documents which relate to your homelessness, to your health or to your financial circumstances to the meeting. You will also need to provide proof of your identity. This will help the Accommodation/Housing Officer to make a decision about your case more quickly.

What sort of temporary accommodation can I expect to be offered while my application for housing is being considered?

Most of our temporary accommodation units are ordinary Council houses which are fully furnished for use by homeless persons. We also have a number of accommodation projects which are used for young people and clients who require more support.

What will temporary accommodation cost?

The charge for your temporary accommodation will depend on the type of housing you are given. Normally, it includes a rent charge and a service charge to cover the cost of providing furniture, the TV license, caretaking and so on. You will normally be responsible for paying for your electricity.

Will I get points for being homeless?

You will be allocated priority need for housing, but if you are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless, you should contact the Homelessness Team immediately for advice and assistance.
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