Perth & Kinross hails ‘significant reduction in homelessness’ with Home First approach

A ‘Home First’ approach to tackling homelessness has led to an 18.9% reduction in homelessness presentations in Perth and Kinross, a new report has confirmed.

Perth & Kinross Council’s housing and communities committee will be given an update on the local authority’s Rapid Rehousing Transition Plan (RRTP) and how it is transforming the experience of people who find themselves homeless.

Home First was introduced in 2017 and aims to assist as many homeless households as possible to move straight into settled accommodation, avoiding the use of temporary accommodation such as bed and breakfasts. This minimises the duration, impact, stigma and cost of homelessness as well as ensuring the best outcome for homeless households.

Home First also focuses on homelessness prevention through the work of homeless prevention officers and by increasing the number of available properties for affordable rent in Perth and Kinross.

The approach in Perth and Kinross has been recognised by the Scottish Government, as well as major homelessness charities Shelter Scotland and Crisis, as a sector-leading example of good practice.

The Scottish Government asked all local authorities to develop and submit a Rapid Rehousing Transition Plan by 31 December 2018 to minimise the impact of homelessness of communities. Home First is the council’s approach to rapid re-housing and forms the basis of the RRTP.

A report to the committee meeting on Wednesday 29th January says that as a result of Home First, between April - December 2018 and April - December 2019:

  • The number of homelessness presentations fell from 687 to 557
  • The average length of a homelessness case fell to 76 days, down from 97 days
  • The number of families presenting as homeless fell from 168 to 103

Housing and communities convener, Councillor Bob Brawn, said: “Since it was introduced in 2017 the Home First approach has had a transformational effect for people who are unfortunate enough to find themselves homeless in Perth and Kinross. Importantly, we are seeing fewer people present to us as homeless, and people who do find themselves homelessness are being found suitable settled accommodation much, much faster.

“We recently submitted our updated RRTP to the Scottish Government based on feedback we have received from them. We will continue to take forward this nationally-recognised work and improve even further through initiatives like the planned redevelopment of St Catherine’s Square in Perth that will increase our availability of settled accommodation.”

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