Homeless Support Service

Who We Are

The Comhairle’s Homeless Support Service is provided by the Homeless Service which is part of the Development Department’s Housing Service Team.

We provide support, if needed, to household assessed as homeless or potentially homeless.

Homeless Support Officers are based in Stornoway and Balivanich, providing support for households anywhere in the Western Isles.

What We Do

If you are homeless, we can support you while you are in temporary accommodation and help you to find somewhere to stay. We can help you settle in to your new home and ensure that you are receiving the help that you might need to keep a successful tenancy whether with a Registered Social Landlord or a private landlord.

If you have a tenancy at present but are having problems which might lead to you losing that tenancy we can work with you to prevent you from becoming homeless.

The Comhairle also has a duty to assess for and provide support to all unintentionally homeless households if we have reason to believe that support may be required. This could be because of a number of issues e.g. previous rent arrears, repeat homelessness, substance misuse, age or health issues.

Under the Housing Support Duty the Comhairle has a duty to:

  1. advise or assist a person with personal budgeting, debt counselling or in dealing with welfare benefit claims
  2. assist a person to engage with individuals, professionals or other bodies with an interest in that person's welfare
  3. advise or assist a person in understanding and managing their tenancy rights and responsibilities, including assisting a person in disputes about those rights and responsibilities; and
  4. advise or assist a person in settling into a new tenancy

The Homeless Support Officer will work closely with you to provide an agreed package of support which could include help with any or all of the above.

We will agree a timescale with you for providing this support and will not stop supporting you until you are settled into your new home.

If we feel it would benefit you, and you are happy for us to do so, we will refer you to other agencies for more specialised help e.g. Social Work, Dochas, Hebrides Alpha, Advocacy, Citizens’ Advice, The Foyer Project etc.

How We Do It

Once you are referred to us by The Homeless Service, your Housing Officer or another relevant agency, we will arrange an appointment with you. At the first interview we will complete an assessment form. Based on the outcome of this we will either agree that you do not need a support package or we will agree a careplan with you.

We will meet as often as required to work through the careplan.

What If I Don’t Want Support

We believe that you will find it in your best interests to engage with the Homeless Support Officer. However, if you do not want to accept any offer of support then your wishes will be respected.

If you don’t want support but have been provided with temporary accommodation by the Comhairle, you will still be asked to meet regularly with the Homeless Support Officer to provide evidence that you are looking for somewhere else to stay (unless the Comhairle has accepted a duty to provide you with permanent housing). If you do not comply with this you will be in danger of losing your temporary accommodation.

If You Have A Complaint About The Homeless Support Service

The Comhairle aims to provide an excellent Homeless Support Service offering the highest standard of care and support. You should expect to be treated as an individual at all times without being shown any type of discrimination.


If you are unhappy with the service provided and wish to make a complaint you should do so in writing to:

Homeless Services Manager
Comhairle nan Eilean Siar
Council Offices
Sandwick Road
Isle of Lewis

Care Inspectorate

The Comhairle’s Homeless Support Service is registered with the Care Inspectorate (Opens in a new window or downloads a file) who inspect the service to ensure that we are meeting National Care Standards and complying with legislation. You may wish to make any complaint, or express any concerns you might have, about the service directly to the Care Commission at:

Care Commission Office
9 James Street
Isle of Lewis
Tel: 01851 706157

Duty of Candour

The Duty of Candour Procedure (Scotland) Regulations 2018 set out the procedure that organisations providing health services, care services and social work services are required to follow when there has been an unintended or unexpected incident that results in death or harm.  Such services must, by law, produce a short annual report showing the learning from their duty of candour incidents.

Annual Report 2020-2021  (152.5kB)