Ayr Housing Aid Centre
Today the Homeless Spotlight falls on Ayr Housing Aid Centre, a local charity which has operated in South Ayrshire since 1987 with the primary aim and objective to provide services to homeless, those threatened with homelessness and those in housing need.
Advice, Information and Advocacy Service
This service is a type III accredited service providing advice, information and advocacy across a wide range of housing topics, including homelessness, public and private rent sectors, owner occupiers, housing related benefits, disrepair amongst other issues.
A major reason for opening cases is homelessness prevention. Over the last decade the Centre has prevented homelessness over 2,000 cases. The private rented sector is a growing source of cases for the Centre, (41 per cent of cases in 2014/15).
Service users have described the service as “first class very friendly, very efficient and helpful” and “supportive, patient and genuinely in helping others in difficulty”.
Tenure Sustainment Service
This service intervenes at crisis point to try and prevent homelessness. The main reason for referral is rent arrears with high risk of repossession and the majority of referrals are from South Ayrshire Council.
The service engages with the service user to develop a sustainable rent arrear repayment plan which includes a full income and expenditure review. They also link and liaise other potential partner agencies to apply for grants where eligible. In January 2015 the Care Inspectorate gave the service grade 6’s (excellent) across the board.
Feedback from service users include “very satisfied with the service I received” and “the service gave me everything I needed”.
Education and Engagement
The HEY (Housing Education for Youths) Project is part of Education and Engagement. It provides appropriately structured information on housing and homelessness within Primary and Secondary Schools across South Ayrshire. In 2014/15 over 1,700 pupils received sessions on Housing and Homelessness.
All the sessions had very positive feedback including from a primary teacher who said the “details explained to the children in a suitable manner”, a secondary school pupil who said it was “good and useful for my future made me aware” and a secondary teacher who stated “the variety of interactive sessions engaged pupils well”.
First Home Service
The First Home Project is part of Education and Engagement. The key aim of the project is to ensure that 16 -21 year olds who apply for Council housing are provided with accurate information on the application process and tenant responsibilities. We work with them to assess readiness of becoming a tenant and give them information to empower them to make informed choices which in turn reduces tenancy failure.
The project has expanded to include young people who have been accepted as statutory homeless. This is designed to minimise the stress involved and to promote a successful transition from temporary accommodation to a permanent home.
A Capacity Building Programme has been developed with a range of partners including South Ayrshire Council, Ayrshire College, Police Scotland, Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, Energy Agency. The aim of the programme is to build confidence, resilience, develop skills (including painting and decorating, cooking on a budget, costs to run a home and progression routes). The two pilots have been very successful and the programme will continue to at least June 2017.
For further information see ayrhousingaidcentre.com
Call the Centre 01292 288111