New project prioritises the homeless

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Homeless people who repeatedly need rehoused will be given fast track priority on South Ayrshire Council’s waiting list after a new plan was approved by the leadership panel.

The aim is to get those who constantly end up homeless settled in a permanent home as quickly as possible. A single case of homelessness costs between £5,500 and £24,000 and more than 700 people registered as homeless in South Ayrshire every year.

Housing First is being rolled out in South Ayrshire as part of a Scottish Government campaign. The plans for introducing Housing First were presented in a report to the South Ayrshire Council’s leadership panel, and Kevin Anderson, the council’s head of housing policy said: “People who experience repeat homelessness have chaotic lifestyles.”

They include those with poor mental health, drug or alcohol addictions, social isolation, difficult childhoods and crime involvement.

Mr Anderson said Housing First was developed to “meet the needs of homeless individuals with complex needs.”

The cost of the one year homeless pilot is estimated at £124,515 and will cater for eight people who will receive “priority status”, receiving intensive support and addiction services if needed.

Council executive manager, people, David Burns said South Ayrshire was ahead of the game in organising the pilot.

SNP council leader Douglas Campbell said: “A big struggle is the number of re-lets we get and where they are.”

The Housing First report presented to councillors said: “Under this model, clients receive an enhanced degree of choice and support at the allocations stage to ensure they can be offered accommodation that will meet their needs in the long-term, and maximise their chances of sustaining their tenancies.”