ERC’s priority report

East Renfrewshire Council has been criticised by a leading charity for failing to act on homelessness.

In recent annual Scottish government statistics, which detailed performance until March this year, only 82 per cent of homeless people were assessed as a priority by the council, compared to 92% for Glasgow.

Graeme Brown, Director of Shelter Scotland said: “East Renfrewshire Council has failed to maintain progress as it works towards the 2012 homelessness commitment and there is a lot of work still to be done.

“We know times are tough and local authorities are under increasing pressure, but meeting the 2012 commitment is a legislative requirement that cannot be shirked from.

“Councils who are failing to deliver need to take urgent action to meet their responsibilities to homeless people or Scottish Ministers should intervene to make it happen.

 “We want everyone in Scotland to have the right to a home and the real chance of actually living in one.

“Politicians must prioritise building more houses to end the wait for 2,244 households stuck on waiting lists across East Renfrewshire”.

The reform to Scotland’s homelessness legislation, which comes into place on 31 December 2012, will see an end to current system where only those people deemed to be in priority need have the right to a home

East Renfrewshire’s figure is up 12 % from four years ago and in the three months after the end of the report, from April to July 2011, 98% were considered a priority.

A spokesman told The Extra: “Shelter have previously been advised of our policy changes.

“They have failed to notice that since the statistics were gathered East Renfrewshire council’s allocation policy has changed.

“This has resulted in the improved performance.

“Our allocation policy will ensure we will reach the target on 1 April 2012 and not 31 December, some eight months ahead of the required schedule. We have agreed this because we have a firm commitment to the homeless reforms”.