Rapid rehousing proving to tackle homelessness in South Lanarkshire

A new strategy to tackle homelessness in South Lanarkshire has recorded significant successes in its first year.

A report on the Rapid Rehousing Transition Plan (RTTP) has highlighted excellent progress in both preventing homelessness and reducing the number of homeless households.

The first annual review was presented to South Lanarkshire Council’s housing resources committee when it met on September 16.

Chair of the housing and technical resources committee, Councillor Josh Wilson, said: “This report makes very positive reading and is particularly welcome as I was able to present it to the committee when we met on Scottish Housing Day, which this year has the theme of the positive difference social housing makes on the lives of individuals and communities.

“The work set out in the RRTP shows where working with our partners we are making a real difference by assisting people, often when they are at a point of crisis, to achieve the home and the support they require as a base for all other aspects of their lives.

“South Lanarkshire has given great support to Scottish Housing Day since it was launched five years ago but this report and others like it highlight how committed our team are to making lives better all year through.”

Among the successes higlighted in the RRTP annual review are:

  • A 34% reduction in long term homeless households
  • A 7% reduction in the average time spent in temporary accommodation
  • An increase in permanent tenancies to homeless households across social housing
  • The development of a peer support network with service users trained to become peer mentors
  • A further 10 homeless households moved into settled accommodation through Housing First with agreed support provided by a range of services
  • An expansion of advice and support services for homeless and potentially homeless households. 

Annette Finnan, head of housing services, said: “During the year we have worked closely with our partners to innovate and develop services that do more to help prevent homelessness and to support those who become homeless.”

Another area of success for RRTP has been converting a temporary tenancy to a permanent home which prevents further upheaval for the household and has been very positively received. One family reported that it worked particularly well for them as it prevented unnecessary upheaval and upset for a child with autism.

The RRTP approach has also proved itself in the pandemic response with the council and partners continuing to provide much needed support for homeless households and those facing the risk of homelessness.

Councillor Maureen Chalmers, chair of South Lanarkshire’s Community Planning Partnership board, noted that: “While COVID-19 continues to present significant challenges for partners in tackling homelessness I am confident that the strong partnership which has been established provides a solid basis to respond to the impact of COVID-19.”

Partners will meet regularly throughout the year to ensure that the RRTP priority actions are being delivered and to monitor and report on progress made.

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