North Lanarkshire Council sees ‘substantial reduction’ in homelessness presentations
A targeted and coordinated approach to support people facing homelessness in North Lanarkshire has resulted in a substantial reduction in people presenting themselves looking for accommodation over the last year.
Scotland’s largest local authority landlord saw a 21% decrease in homeless presentations in 2020/21 in comparison to the Scottish average of a 9% decrease.
The health pandemic presented significant challenges to supporting people faced with homelessness. The reasons for people presenting as homeless included relationship breakdowns, disputes, harassment, and people fleeing domestic abuse. Changes in legislation to prevent landlords evicting tenants for rent arrears were also introduced across Scotland in response to Covid-19.
Stephen Llewellyn, head of housing solutions at North Lanarkshire Council, explained: “The pandemic presented huge challenges to vulnerable people worried about having somewhere to live and to our services to help support them. We set up several initiatives to ensure those in crisis were able to talk to our teams whenever they needed to, either face to face at our supported accommodation units or remotely to offer the help people needed.
“Since March 2020, 118 temporary accommodation residents had their temporary accommodation changed to a Scottish Secure Tenancy providing them with a permanent home and avoiding further disruption from the need to move home.
“Where homelessness cannot be prevented, our Rapid Rehousing team helps to find people a settled, mainstream housing option as quickly as possible, reduce multiple moves and time spent in temporary accommodation.”
Councillor Heather Brannan-McVey, convener of communities and housing, said: “People faced with the threat or worry of being without a place to live can be very vulnerable and we are here to help.
“The health crisis has made things so much more difficult, and our housing advisors have been working incredibly hard to immediately help people into suitable temporary accommodation and work towards finding a longer-term solution if needed. They are also offered other support including money and debt advice, tenancy support and housing options help.
“Anyone worried about becoming homeless should contact us immediately at their local housing office or call our emergency out of hours service on 0800 953 2424.”