Perth & Kinross Council continues to build on Home First success

A groundbreaking Perth & Kinross Council programme to assist homeless households and avoid the use of temporary accommodation is going from strength to strength, councillors have been told.

Home First was introduced in 2017 and aims to assist as many homeless households as possible to move straight into settled accommodation. The initiative minimises the duration, impact, stigma and cost of homelessness as well as ensuring the best outcome for homeless households.

In 2016/17 the average person who presented as homeless would have to wait an average of 441 days for an offer of permanent housing.

Now that timescale has been reduced to an average of just 91 days.

The length of time spent in temporary accommodation has also fallen from just over 132 days to 81.5 days.

The approach has been recognised by the Scottish Government and homelessness charities Shelter Scotland and Crisis as a sector-leading example of good practice.

The model is now being used as a basis for the council’s new Rapid Rehousing Transition Plan (RRTP). The Scottish Government has asked all local authorities to develop and submit a Rapid Rehousing Transition Plan by December 31 to minimise the impact of homelessness of communities.

A report on the implementation of the Perth & Kinross Council RRTP was presented to councillors on the housing and communities committee yesterday.

Committee convener, Councillor Peter Barrett, said: “Rapid Rehousing is very similar to our own Home First approach in terms of the objectives of assisting homeless people to move quickly and directly into settled housing, avoiding the need for temporary accommodation. This is about minimising the impact of homelessness for individuals and families where homelessness cannot be prevented.

“We are in a very strong position compared to most other local authorities as we are already operating our own rapid rehousing system through Home First. Many other authorities still have huge temporary accommodation portfolios, extensive use of B&B and substantial backlogs of homeless people waiting on an offer of housing.”

“Despite our comparatively strong starting position, we want to take the opportunity to set out an ambitious programme in our plan. A Project Team has been established to oversee the development and implementation of the RRTP and we are currently consulting with local community partner organisations. We are well on track to submit our RRTP by the deadline of December 31.”

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