Council praised for action on homelessness

BRILLIANT: South Ayrshire Council helped David Sloan and John Keirs, centre, when they were facing homelessness.
BRILLIANT: South Ayrshire Council helped David Sloan and John Keirs, centre, when they were facing homelessness.

SOUTH Ayrshire Council has been praised for “leading the way” on homelessness after meeting targets three months ahead of schedule.

South Ayrshire Council is one of 18 local authorities in Scotland to meet the historic 2012 homelessness commitment - and there are still three months to go until the new legislation comes in to force.

The council has been able to meet their goal ahead of time by abolishing priority need assessments, which gives precedence to people deemed vulnerable as a result of their age, number of dependents, ill-health, or the threat of violence.

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.

“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.

“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.”

Local men David Sloan and John Keirs both agreed having come through the service to find accommodation after both had been homeless.

John said: “Homelessness can affect anyone and the council did all they could to support me when I was faced with this possibility. 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. He said: “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.”