Supported accommodation project proving a real success
A unique West Dunbartonshire homeless project has supported more than 100 people since it was opened less than two years ago.
The project, which is based in Ashton View, Dumbarton, provides shared accommodation and 24-hour support to people who find themselves without a home.
Staff at the project work intensively with residents to help them develop the key life skills needed to allow them to move on to a permanent, settled home.
This is supported by house rules which call upon the individuals to address the issues which contribute to their homelessness – such as drug and alcohol misuse.
Once a tenant has been accepted into the 12-week programme they are appointed a key worker and between them they agree on a care plan tailored to each individual’s needs and hold regular reviews to ensure they are on the right track.
At the end of their stay in Ashton View, the resident is accommodated in a fully furnished temporary flat with support from their key worker and this continues for another six months to ensure they are managing well.
This is West Dunbartonshire Council’s first supported accommodation project and was developed in consultation with the local community.
Gary Whyte and Paul Ainsworth, co-team leaders at the project, believe that the atmosphere which has been created within the centre has played an important part in the project’s success.
Gary said: “We run confidence and self-esteem groups as part of the programme as well as workshops about budgeting and other life skills that many of the people who come here have just never learned. I see the place as a housing rehabilitation centre because during their time here we work with everyone to identify the reasons behind people being homeless and work to remedy these. All the staff who work here are really supportive and the fantastic environment we have built up really helps to build trust and relationships.”
Since being established in November 2013, the quality of the work being done at Ashton View has been recognised by the Care Commission inspection in July 2014.
The unit was awarded good or very good grades for the quality of its care and support, quality of staff, and quality of leadership and management.
Tenants are also supportive and the project has an occupancy rate of 95 per cent, and customer satisfaction levels in excess of that.
Councillor David McBride, convener of housing, said: “I am delighted that this project has been so successful since being set up. When the Council committed to establishing this service we wanted to provide people with an opportunity to deal with the issues they were facing and start a new chapter in their lives. To have supported more than 100 people already, with the majority moving on to have steady tenancies, is an excellent achievement for everyone involved.”
Councillor Lawrence O’Neill, vice-convener of housing, added: “It is extremely pleasing to hear feedback from people who have been part of this project that it has had such a positive impact on their lives. By providing them with the support and guidance they need we are helping to make them more employable and equipping them with the skills they need. I look forward to hearing of continued success for the Ashton View project.”