Homeless support plans praised

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BOTH East Renfrewshire and Glasgow city council have been congratulated for their commitment to combatting homelessness.

Charity Shelter Scotland have commended ERC for leading the way, by abolishing priority need assessments, in effect giving every unintentionally homeless person in East Renfrewshire the legal right to a home.

The Scottish government’s latest statistics show ERC assessed 100% of homeless applications as priority need between January and March 2012. The figures also show a 14% year-on-year reduction in the number of homelessness applications made.

Graeme Brown, director of Shelter Scotland congratulated the council on its commitment in preparing for the historic reforms.

He said:“The 2012 commitment is internationally regarded as the cutting edge of progressive homelessness reform and ERC can be very proud that it is playing a part in making history.

“I congratulate the council on its continued focus on meeting its responsibilities to homeless people and in its early preparedness for the reforms.

“In already having effective policies and practices in place, the council has ensured itself a smooth transition, meaning key resources such as temporary accommodations won’t experience a sudden increase in demand.

“This achievement marks a new beginning for the Council and the way it treats homeless people. It is a huge step towards eradicating homelessness not only in East Renfrewshire, but Scotland as a whole.”

In June this year, Shelter urged Glasgow City council to look ahead and ensure its homelessness services are ready for the post-2012 era and to do more to prepare for the reforms and deliver its duty to homeless people.

However, as of October 1, Glasgow City Council removed priority need also – becoming one of 21 councils now to have met the 2012 homelessness commitment.

The changes have seen an end to the current system where only those people deemed to be in ‘priority need’ previously had the right to a home.

The Act passed in 2003 effectively extends the right to a home to single homeless people and couples without children. For the last nine years Scotland’s 32 local authorities have been preparing for the changes.