Councillors hear of positive homelessness progress in Fife

Councillors hear of positive homelessness progress in Fife

A council housing development in Cellardyke

Fife Council is making progress on tackling the challenges of homelessness and the use of temporary accommodation in Fife, councillors have been told.

A meeting of the council’s Cabinet Committee yesterday discussed the ways the council is working to reduce homelessness through the Ending Homelessness Together Programme Board.

Positive progress has been made in reforming housing access and homelessness services but the report also highlighted the difficulties created by the significant pressures facing services.

Head of the council’s housing service John Mills explained: “Fife is currently managing homelessness services in the context of unprecedented pressures on temporary accommodation which stem from the long-term effects of the pandemic and the cost of living crisis.

“We’re working to maximise housing supply and continuing to deliver the Affordable Housing Programme but we are calling on the Scottish Government for more investment to meet the needs of those presenting as homeless and in housing need more generally.”

Now the council is producing a Homelessness Reduction Plan which will be discussed with housing minister Paul McLennan and key Scottish Government staff to bid for additional financial and non-financial resources to deliver key priorities.

The long-term strategy and action plan for reducing homelessness will focus on:

  • Continuing the transfer-led approach to the allocation of the substantial number of new build properties coming on stream through the affordable housing programme, which should meet multiple needs by creating allocation chains
  • Acquisition of properties to meet specific needs and pressures on an area basis
  • Reduction of void turnaround times
  • Bringing empty properties back into occupation
  • Reinstituting a private sector letting scheme to provide the council with access to private rented accommodation for allocations
  • A renewed and transformed approach to prevention of homelessness
  • Reprovisioning and modernising hostel accommodation
  • The elimination of the use of hotel and bed and breakfast accommodation
  • Pursuing the policy approach of property flips/conversions of temporary into permanent accommodation.

Council leader David Ross said: “We are doing everything we can to support people and make sure everyone has access to good quality, affordable, sustainable homes.

“A range of measures is in place to help us transform homelessness services which place Fife at the forefront of service design innovation. We are adding around 300 additional units of temporary accommodation from our own stock, partners’ stock and private rented accommodation. We have also committed to building a further 1,250 new council houses in Fife over the next five years.

“Since 2012, our affordable housing programme has delivered 7,400 new affordable houses making the programme one of the biggest in Scotland.”

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