Homelessness Assistance

Homelessness assistance

We have a responsibility to provide you with housing information, advice and assistance in accordance with the Housing (Scotland) Act 2001.

About the Homeless Service

  • Prevents homelessness where possible.
  • Provides free advice and information to people who are homeless or threatened with homelessness.
  • Supports people to find housing solutions
  • Provides housing support where required
  • Provides temporary accommodation options

What help is available?  

We have a legal duty to carry out an assessment of your circumstances in line with the Scottish Government's homelessness legislation.

We will review your housing options, if you are at risk of losing your current accommodation, we will assist you in sustaining it, provided it is safe for you to stay.

Our duty officer will arrange an interview where you will receive information and advice about your housing options. Tell us of any particular requirements, for example, a male/female interviewer or sign language interpreter.

If you are a woman fleeing domestic abuse you may prefer to contact Borders Women's Aid.

If you are unsure as to your options on leaving, or planning to leave an abusive partner, our Domestic Abuse Advocacy Support (DAAS) service can help you with information, support, safety planning and practical ways to help you make the right decisions for you and your family. DAAS is a free, confidential service.

In any circumstance, if you feel you are in danger in your own home, please call 999.

What happens at your interview?

We will provide advice on the assessment process, along with advice on how we might prevent your homelessness. We will also confirm what actions we will take and the likely timescales.

The homelessness legislation can be quite complex, it is important that you do not take action which could worsen your position without firstly contacting the service.

Homelessness Criteria

You can read more  about what it means to be homeless or threatened with homelessness including each of the legal tests

If you are assessed as meeting all the criteria:

A settled tenancy will be arranged for you and your case officer will advise you of how this duty will be met.

You will be advised of all of the housing options available to you and you will be assisted to access these.

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 the Scottish Borders, we will still have obligations towards you, including the provision of advice and assistance. Your Case Officer will advise you about this


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.

If a person requires leave to enter or remain in the UK they will not be eligible to make a homelessness application or receive temporary homeless accommodation under part II of the Housing (Scotland) Act 1987, unless they are in a particular class/ group of people, including:

  • Refugee
  • Person with humanitarian protection
  • Person with leave to remain granted outside of the Immigration Rules (this could be also referred to as discretionary leave to remain) when they do not have NRPF as a condition of their leave
  • Person who has indefinite leave to enter or remain who is habitually resident in the UK, Republic of Ireland, Isle of Man or Channel Islands (unless their indefinite leave to remain is subject to an undertaking that their sponsor will maintain and accommodate them, and they have been resident in the UK for less than five years or their sponsor has died)
  • Person with leave to remain under section 67 of the Immigration Act 2016 (leave given to unaccompanied children who enter the UK under the ‘Dubs amendment’) 
  • EEA nationals and their family members who are exercising a right to reside will also be eligible

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 may be able to access assistance from Social Work Services.


Download homelessness service leaflets and guidance

Homelessness services

Monday to Thursday: 8:45am-5pm, Friday: 8:45am-3:45pm, Emergency out of office hours: 01896 752111

Address: Galashiels Area Office
Paton Street
Office access is Monday to Friday: 10am to 12noon and 2pm to 3:45pm

Telephone: 01896 661385