Tuesday, 9 October 2012
South Ayrshire Council leading the way towards 2012 homelessness commitment
South Ayrshire Council is one of 18 local authorities in Scotland to meet the historic 2012 homelessness commitment – with three months still to go until the new legislation comes in to force.
The Council has already met the historic commitment ahead of time by abolishing priority need assessments, in effect giving every unintentionally homeless person in South Ayrshire the legal right to a home.
[Pictured: Heather Anderson, Housing Policy and Strategy Co-ordinator, South Ayrshire Council; Graeme Brown, Director Shelter Scotland; David Sloan; John Keirs; Kenny Leinster, Head of Community Care and Housing, South Ayrshire Council; and Councillor Philip Saxton, Portfolio Holder for Housing.]
The changes have seen an end to the current system where only those people deemed to be in ‘priority need’ previously had the right to a home. The Act passed in 2003 effectively extends the right to a home to single homeless people and couples without children. For the last nine years Scotland’s 32 local authorities have been preparing for the changes.
Graeme Brown, Director of Shelter Scotland congratulated South Ayrshire Council on its commitment in preparing for the historic reforms. He said: “The 2012 commitment is internationally regarded as the cutting edge of progressive homelessness reform and South Ayrshire Council can be very proud that it is leading the way in making history.
“I congratulate the council on its continued focus on meeting its responsibilities to homeless people and in its early preparedness for the reforms. In already having effective policies and practices in place, the council has ensured itself a smooth transition, meaning key resources such as temporary accommodations won’t experience a sudden increase in demand.
“This achievement marks a new beginning for the Council and the way it treats homeless people. It is a huge step towards eradicating homelessness not only in South Ayrshire, but Scotland as a whole.”
Councillor Philip Saxton, South Ayrshire Council’s Portfolio Holder for Housing said: “We take homelessness seriously, recognising that it can happen to anyone and often not for reasons of their own choosing. All homeless applications to the Council are now assessed as a priority.
“We’re delighted Shelter Scotland recognises and has endorsed our efforts to successfully meet – and comfortably exceed – the Scottish Government’s requirement to abolish priority need assessments for homeless people.
“The Council also offers a range of effective support measures, aimed at quickly finding safe, secure and appropriate accommodation.
“This can include access or referral to other services or agencies, to make sure every homeless person, in need of accommodation, receives the right level of support and guidance they need, to reduce their chance of becoming homeless again.”
Local men David Sloan and John Keirs both agreed having come through the service to find accommodation after both had been homeless.
John added: “Homelessness can affect anyone and the Council did all they could to support me when I was faced with this possibility. Thankfully for me I got a lot of help from the team and it did not happen.
“I can’t fault the service I received and am really glad I went there to seek help.”
In David’s case, the process from presenting as a homeless person to finding accommodation took just under two weeks, giving him a fresh start.
He commented: “I never thought I’d find myself homeless, but it happened. The Council were brilliant and got me back and on my feet again. I’ve now got a good handle on the future and life looks good once more.”
South Ayrshire Council is a Founder Member of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle.