Successful Glasgow homelessness service expands to Dundee

youth-homeless-bannerPeople who have lived through homelessness, including some who still don’t have a permanent home, are to offer advice and support to others thanks to new funding for an innovative project in Dundee.

The ‘Time for Change’ volunteers will be trained by housing and homelessness charity Shelter Scotland to take housing advice and support to the community.

Academics from the Institute for Social Policy, Housing and Equalities Research (I-SPHERE) at Heriot-Watt University will evaluate the impact of the project on both volunteers and the people they help.

The project is based on a service in Glasgow set up by Shelter Scotland and co-designed by people who have been homeless which found many people were unaware of their right to help from their local council. It will run for a year and has been given £132,903 from the Social Innovation Fund from the Scottish Government, which is the Managing Authority for EU Structural Funds in Scotland.

Alison Watson, deputy director of Shelter Scotland, said: “Our Glasgow Time for Change project is still relatively young but has already achieved a lot so we are delighted to have won funding alongside I-SPHERE to test out this project in a second Scottish city.

“The model aims to address some of the issues people with more complex needs say they have getting into good housing and keeping it. Currently, far too many end up stuck in a cycle of homelessness.”

In Glasgow, volunteers provide a link between the charity and people struggling to access their rights to emergency and temporary accommodation from the local authority. This can include accompanying them to interviews with housing officers.

Housing minister Kevin Stewart MSP said: “Scotland has some of the strongest housing rights for homeless people anywhere in the world but we recognise that for some homeless people, who may have more complex needs, simply providing accommodation is not always enough to address the range of difficulties they face.

“Tackling and preventing homelessness remains a key priority for the Scottish Government so we are delighted to be able to support and fund innovative projects like Time for Change Dundee, that will give homeless people the opportunity to get advice from those who have experienced homelessness themselves.”

Shelter Scotland and I-SPHERE have also received £46,107 from the Social Innovation Fund to explore the potential for volunteers to host young people at risk of homelessness in their own homes.

They will consider how similar models work internationally with a view to testing the scheme in two areas of Scotland. The project aims to provide young people experiencing homelessness in Scotland with a new route to secure housing.

Suzanne Fitzpatrick, professor of housing and social policy at I-SPHERE, Heriot-Watt University, added: “We’re delighted to be working with Shelter Scotland on these two projects which both seek to develop and test effective solutions to homelessness.

“The Dundee project will provide important evidence on the kinds of peer-led housing advice and support that make the most difference to those who have experienced homelessness.

“We’re strongly committed to demonstrating the kinds of accommodation that enable those experiencing homelessness to have the best possible prospects and welcome the opportunity to explore the benefits of community hosting models for young people in Scotland.”

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