The Council has a statutory responsibility to prevent and alleviate homelessness, and a duty to ensure that homelessness advice and assistance is available to everybody in their area, including homeless prevention and debt advice, free of charge. By 2012 every unintentionally homeless household will be entitled to permanent accommodation, so preventing homelessness is more important than ever.
There are various reasons why people lose their home or face the threat of homelessness, such as loss of job or reduction in income, relationship breakdown, family breakdown, family problems, domestic abuse or the onset of mental illness.
The reason the majority of people lose their home in Orkney is through family and relationship breakdown. Orkney also appears to have a disproportionate number of young people threatened with homelessness, when compared to other similar local authority areas.
Good quality housing advice is essential to the prevention of homelessness both in keeping people in their homes and helping them to find alternatives. The Council provides a full range of housing advice to all residents in Orkney. Our aim is to provide housing solutions tailored to meet individual needs.
The Council is accredited at the National Standard for Advice and Information Providers for its homelessness and housing advice services.
What do I do if I think I’m going to become homeless?
The first priority, if you think you are facing homelessness, is to contact the Homelessness and Advice section. They will work with you to find the most appropriate solution to your housing need and where possible prevent you from becoming homeless in the first place.
As a team they work closely with a range of local agencies focusing on preventative work. These include Orkney Citizen’s Advice Bureau providing welfare rights and financial advice, Relationship Scotland and Women’s Aid Orkney providing outreach services for domestic abuse and links to Employability Orkney's Furniture Project, and Kirkwall Council of Churches Starter Packs Scheme amongst others.
The Council also offers a rent deposit scheme to assist households threatened with homelessness to secure private sector tenancies where appropriate. More information on the scheme can be found under Rent Deposit Scheme in the related links section on this page.
To contact the Homelessness and Advice Section
In person at: Orkney Islands Council, School Place, Kirkwall, Orkney KW15 1NY