Intensive Housing Support Service introduced in Perth and Kinross

Intensive Housing Support Service introduced in Perth and Kinross

Perth & Kinross Council is to introduce a new Intensive Housing Support Service to support tenants with complex needs to keep their homes.

The council introduced a Home First approach to homelessness in April 2017. Home First is designed to prevent homelessness and to minimise the impact, duration, and stigma of homelessness when it cannot be prevented. The approach minimises the need for temporary accommodation, instead moving people into settled accommodation quickly.

Using the Home First approach, the council said it has made significant progress in reducing the backlog of homeless people waiting for an offer of housing, reducing the overall duration of homelessness and the number of people in temporary accommodation. Perth & Kinross Council’s Home First approach is considered to be sector-leading and is the only example of a fully mature rapid rehousing model in Scotland.

Despite the success of Home First, the council has a small number of complex homelessness cases where tenants have difficulty sustaining a tenancy even with housing support from the resources it currently has available. This group of tenants need a different type of support that is more intensive and tailored, to give them the best chance of sustaining their tenancy.

This type of intensive support is generally referred to as ‘Housing First’ which is slightly different to the existing Home First model.

In the council’s budget setting process for 2023/24, funding of £280,000 was allocated to commission an Intensive Housing Support Service to be delivered over two years. Following a tender process, the charity Turning Point Scotland has been awarded the contract to deliver this new service. Turning Point is one of the biggest providers of services to people experiencing, or at risk of homelessness, across Scotland.

The new service is being launched as Perth and Kinross prepares to host the Annual Homelessness Conference at Perth Concert Hall on October 31st, bringing together people from organisations across the country to connect and share ideas. Perth was chosen as the venue for a national conference thanks to ‘groundbreaking results’ achieved by the council in tackling and preventing homelessness.

Convener of the council’s Housing and Social Wellbeing Committee, Councillor Tom McEwan, said: “This important new service will allow us to focus on tenants who have previously struggled to sustain their tenancy due to their complex situation. A range of support, built around their individual needs, will be put in place for them to ensure they can avoid becoming homeless, with all the difficult issues associated with that.

“Evidence shows that the Housing First model also helps these tenants to make real improvements in their health, wellbeing and social and economic situation. I am sure this approach will help our already excellent homelessness services to become even better in preventing and tackling homelessness in Perth and Kinross.”

Head of homelessness and prevention for Turning Point Scotland, Nicky Miller, added: “We are delighted to be working in partnership with Perth & Kinross Council, bringing our experiences of developing and delivering services to people who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness and have complex needs, in line with Housing First Principles.”

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