People become homeless for all sorts of reasons. If you are at risk of losing your home, can't stay where you are, or are worried that you will have to move out soon, we may be able to help you. Please do not wait until you have nowhere to stay, as we may be able to prevent you becoming homeless.

If you are homeless or think you may become homeless in the next 2 months you should contact our housing options team.

It is very important that you get in touch straight away as we may be able to:

  • prevent you losing your home;
  • help you find other accommodation;
  • arrange short term accommodation; and
  • contact other agencies able to help you.

1. How do I get in touch?

2. I am threatened with homelessness in more than 2 months

3. Who is homeless?

4. Homeless assessment

5. Notification of decision

6. If you are assessed as meeting all the criteria

7. If you do not meet all the criteria

8. Right to appeal

1. How do I get in touch?

We provide a homeless service that is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

During normal working hours (Monday - Thurs between 9am and 5pm and Fri 9am to 4pm) telephone number: 01620 827 536.

Outwith normal working hours (from 5pm to 9am week days, during weekends and public holidays) we operate an emergency service for people who find themselves homeless and need immediate accommodation the telephone number is: 0800 169 1611

2. I am threatened with homelessness in more than 2 months

If you are threatened with homelessness in more than 2 months we can offer you an appointment with our Prevention Team for advice on assisting you to avoid homelessness at your current property, or to find your own accommodation options in East Lothian.

We work with various agencies to assist you in avoiding the risk of homelessness.

You can contact our Prevention Team who will be happy to offer you an appointment to discuss your situation. Please call 01620 820107.

3. Who is homeless?

If you have no permanent/secure accommodation or you have accommodation but are unable to live in it, you may be considered homeless. You do not have to be living on the streets to be homeless.

Here are some examples of what being homeless might look like:

  • you have been living with family or friends, but they have asked you to leave  
  • you are unable to stay in your home because you are at risk of violence from someone you live with or used to live with
  • you have separated from your partner and you have nowhere to stay 
  • you are forced to live apart from members of your family because you do not have accommodation where you can live together
  • you have been evicted by Court Order    

If you are likely to become homeless within the next two months we consider you to be threatened with homelessness and can still help you. For more information on homelessness please visit homelessness.

4. How to get an assessment

Homelessness assessments are carried out to determine if you are homeless or threatened by homelessness and determine if you are eligible for housing assistance under the homelessness legislation.  They are carried out by our Housing Options Officers who will review your circumstances and decide whether you are homeless by legal definition. You can contact the Housing Options team to request a homelessness assessment. 

When carrying out a homeless assessment your case officer will look at the following:

Are you homeless?

You may be considered to be homeless for a variety of reasons including:

  • you are roofless and have nowhere to stay
  • you have no permanent housing of your own
  • you are experiencing domestic abuse at your home
  • you have been asked to leave by your landlord, or the person you are living with
  • you have no right to occupy your current accommodation
  • you are going to lose your accommodation in the next two months.

Are you intentionally homeless?

A person is considered to be intentionally homeless if they have deliberately done, or failed to do something, resulting in them becoming homeless.

Do you have a local connection to the East Lothian Council area?

A person has a connection to the area if they:

  • have lived in the area for six out of the last 12 months, or three of the last five years
  • are in permanent employment, or self-employed in the area
  • have a close family member who has lived in the area for at least five years.

If you do not have a local connection to East Lothian, we will investigate if you have a connection to another local authority in Scotland, England or Wales.

Certain categories of people are not eligible for housing assistance under the homelessness legislation, because they do not usually live in the UK or are subject to some form of immigration control.

People are likely to be eligible for assistance if:

  • they usually live in the UK and are not subject to any form of immigration control.
  • they usually live in the UK and are subject to immigration control, but their right to stay here is not subject to any time limit or condition(s).
  • they have been given refugee status, or exceptional leave to remain here, as a result of an application for asylum.
  • they are an asylum seeker who applied at port of entry, when they first came to the UK and have not yet received a decision on their asylum application.
  • they are an asylum seeker, who applied for asylum prior to 5th February 1996.

If someone is not eligible for assistance, there is no duty for us to provide housing - but we must make sure that advice is available. Households who are not eligible for assistance may be eligible for assistance from Social Services.

5. Notification of decision

It can take up to 28 days for your case officer to fully assess and make a decision on your homeless application. Once a decision has been made, your case officer will confirm this in writing.

In rare circumstances it may take longer for a decision to be made, depending on the information you give us. If this happens, your case officer will keep you informed of the progress of your application.

6. If you are assessed as meeting all the criteria:

We have a full re-housing responsibility towards you meaning we will work with you to find you settled accommodation. Your Housing Options officer will advise you of how this duty will be met.

You will be advised of all of the housing options you have and assisted to access these options. Given the long waiting times for council housing (especially for single people), other housing tenures such as Housing Association tenancies may be more appropriate to your needs and reduce your waiting time for re-housing.

In the meantime, if you lose your home, we may need to place you in Temporary Accommodation.

7. If you do not meet all the criteria:

If you are found to be homeless or threatened with homelessness but you are found to be intentionally homeless or not to have a local connection with East Lothian, we still have obligations towards you such as the provision of advice and assistance. Your Housing Options Officer will advise you about this.

8. Right to appeal

You can ask us to review our decision if you do not agree with it - for example if we have said you are intentionally homeless.