North Ayrshire Council has been commended for its role in helping to tackle homelessness, following recent Scottish Government legislation that entitles homeless people to settled accommodation.
The new law – championed by SNP MSP Margaret Burgess – recognises those who find themselves homeless through no fault of their own, and guarantees accommodation for such people.
Ms Burgess praised the council’s “innovative approach to dealing with homelessness”, and as a former manager of the Citizens Advice Bureau, knows the extent of the difficulties people face after finding themselves suddenly without a home.
“For anyone, facing homelessness is a worrying time. The aim of this new legislation is to work towards stopping people becoming homeless in the first place, so I am delighted that the Scottish Government has recently provided an extra £300,000 to help councils work together to help prevent people becoming homeless,” said the Irvine-based MSP.
She went on: “North Ayrshire Council is to be commended for its fresh thinking approach to dealing with a very serious issue. Its mainstream housing service has been refocused on preventing people from becoming homeless rather than just responding to people already in crisis. This type of innovative approach to public services is clearly the way ahead.”
Ms Burgess – Minister for Housing and Welfare – voiced her gratitude for the council’s approach to dealing with homelessness in the area, which has resulted in the number of homeless people coming forward dropping by 49 per cent over four years.
She said: “As well is its main service, the council has taken the innovative step of actively offering mediation and negotiation services for people who could safely return home rather than become homeless. This is not always the best solution in every circumstance, but there has been a massive difference made to the lives of those who have been able to return home, thanks to the support provided by the council.”