Nobody will be homeless or sleeping rough this Christmas, pledges North Ayrshire Council
The recent cold snap has focused everyone’s minds on the conditions some people are living in this winter and North Ayrshire Council has made a pledge that nobody will be without a roof over their head this Christmas.
The council said everyone will have accommodation as we brace ourselves for more wintry conditions. An all-year-round service is provided by the local authority to guarantee suitable accommodation for people who may find themselves without a place to stay, and also support those who are struggling to keep their home.
Anyone rough sleeping or in need of housing support in North Ayrshire is urged to come forward for assistance.
Councillor Scott Davidson, cabinet member for place, said: “We have experienced some very cold weather recently, with temperatures getting as low as minus 7 degrees Celsius.
“We want to make it clear that nobody in North Ayrshire needs to sleep rough this festive period, or any at other time of the year. There are services available all year round to assist people ensuring that they have access to the appropriate supports.
“The people of North Ayrshire are kind and generous, and this has been demonstrated by people contacting the Council to raise concerns regarding individuals who are begging and/or rough sleeping.
“There have also been social media posts where individuals have been asking for help for people they have found to be begging, with many comments about people providing rough sleepers with food and clothing.
“It is purely a personal choice to give money, food or clothing in these circumstances. However, we are keen to ensure people access the services they need to ensure they are appropriately supported and accommodated.”
When the council is made aware of people sleeping rough on the street staff will approach them and offer assistance.
Councillor Davidson explained: “Our staff have been able to ascertain, on occasion, that a person is not homeless but does need support with their financial situation. In these instances, assistance is provided to reduce the need for the individual to turn to begging. Not all homeless people beg and not all those who beg are homeless.
“The Council’s Housing Advice Team provides people who are homeless or threatened with homelessness with advice and assistance. Where required, temporary accommodation is offered, and we will work with partner agencies to meet people’s needs.”
The local authority has temporary accommodation across North Ayrshire, and the service is available all year.
Councillor Davidson concluded: “In addition to temporary accommodation, we can assist people to access essentials such as food and clothing. The service also assists people to ensure that they have access to the appropriate welfare benefits and support.”
If you are homeless or concerned that someone may be homeless, please phone the North Ayrshire Council 24-hour homeless helpline on 0800 0196 500 and speak to an officer.