1. Table of contents

What happens at your interview

We will arrange for you to have an interview with a trained officer. Our staff are fully trained to offer all information and advice you may need and our services are free, confidential, professional and understanding.

Your interview should take around an hour depending on your circumstances. The more information you give us about your situation, the easier it will be for us to make the right decision for you.

When you come for our interview we can:

  • Offer you a private interview with a trained Caseworker
  • Offer you temporary accommodation if required
  • Provide an interpreter or sign-language service if you need one
  • Offer you an interview with a Caseworker of the same sex

What you need to bring

Please bring as much information as possible about your situation to the interview. This includes any relevant documentation or evidence.

You should bring the following information:

  • Identification - such as a passport, birth certificate or driving licence
  • Your National Insurance Number
  • Proof of income and Benefit award letters

The interview helps us find out more about your situation and work out how we can help you. Even if you don't need somewhere to stay immediately, it is important that you attend the interview so we can start working with you to resolve your housing problem.

We will decide whether or not you:

  • Are officially considered homeless or at risk of becoming homeless within 2 months
  • Have not deliberately acted in a way that has caused you to be homeless
  • Have a local connection within the Falkirk Council area

We will consider you homeless if all of the above apply to you. See Legally homeless? below for more information.

How long will the assessment and decision take?

The Assessment Officer looks at each case individually and carefully examines all the information before reaching a decision. When the Assessment Officer has made a decision on your homeless application, we must let you know, in writing, what our duties are towards you under homeless legislation.

We aim to assess your situation within 28 days of the date of your application. This may sometimes take longer depending on the circumstances of your homeless application. While we are assessing your case you have the right to temporary housing if you need this.

What happens while I am waiting on the decision?

If you need it, you still have the right to temporary housing while you are waiting. You can get temporary housing until we:

  • Give you help and advice to find somewhere else
  • Offer you permanent housing

If we can't offer you permanent housing, we will explain why. You have the right to appeal this decision. If you would like to appeal our decision, please contact us.

Housing Support Needs Assessment

As part of your interview, your Assessment Officer will complete a housing support needs assessment. This will look at your current circumstances and your ability to manage independent living. They may decide that you will need some housing support in your new home. Housing support is a free short term service for residents of the Falkirk Council area aged over 16 in any type of accommodation.

If you have no housing support issues but would benefit from a different type of help (for example - mental health services), we will signpost or refer you to a relevant agency. If you think that you would benefit from housing support, please speak to your Assessment Officer to discuss with them the suitability of a referral to the housing support service.

Legally homeless?

To be entitled to permanent housing, you have to meet the following conditions, which are set out by law:

Under each of these conditions there are a number of definitions saying what each actually means. The following sections will explain what these definitions mean.

Are you homeless?

You don't have to be living on the streets to be homeless. You are homeless if:

  • You have no accommodation which you are permitted or entitled to occupy
  • You are sleeping rough
  • You are unable to get access to housing
  • You live in a night shelter, refuge or other emergency housing
  • You are experiencing violence, harassment, racial harassment or are threatened with violence from someone you live with or used to live with
  • You live in a mobile home or houseboat and there is nowhere for you to pitch or moor it
  • Your household is overcrowded in terms of housing legislation and this is causing physical or mental health problems
  • Your household is forced to live apart
  • You have somewhere to live but it is unreasonable for you to do so, for example your house is in a poor state of repair
  • You are living with friends or relatives and they have asked you to leave

You are at risk of becoming homeless if you are likely to fall into one of the above categories in the next 2 months.

Are you intentionally homeless?

You may be intentionally homeless if:

  • Your house was taken away from you because of your own actions, for example, not paying your rent or mortgage or behaving in an antisocial way
  • You voluntarily left your house without a good reason
  • You were aware that your action would make you homeless

If we decide that you are homeless, but that you are intentionally homeless, we have a duty to give you temporary housing for a short time (if you need this) and advice and assistance to help you find somewhere else to live

Do you have a local connection with the Falkirk Council area?

As a general rule, you will have a local connection with the Falkirk Council area if:

  • You have lived in this area for a significant length of time
  • You work in the Falkirk area You have close family links in the Falkirk area
  • You have special circumstances, for example you need to continue your education or provide care for a member of your family
  • You are fleeing domestic abuse
  • You have recently left the armed forces

If you are unintentionally homeless but have no local connection with the Falkirk Council area and there are no special circumstances why you have to stay in the area, we will refer you to another council area to which you do have a local connection. However, we must give you temporary housing until the other council agrees to help.