More homeless being housed

HOMELESS rates are dropping right on schedule with Holyrood targets, according to East Renfrewshire council.

The Scottish government has asked all councils to achieve a target by the end of 2012, when new legislation comes into force.

The new system will bring an end to a current rating scheme, where only homeless people classed as high priority have the right to housing provision.

High priority cases predominantly involved families, leaving couples without children and single people lower on the list.

East Renfrewshire council was in early 2011 lagging behind the national average — 88 per cent — of all homeless people attended to, at just 82 per cent.

But the authority has now improved the service, this week releasing figures which show a high of 98 per cent of people attended to this year.

An ERC spokesman confirmed this week that the council hope to meet the target set by Holyrood 11 months ahead of schedule — by next month.

He continued: “East Renfrewshire council has developed a homeless improvement plan and appointed a homelessness implementation officer to tackle the issue.

“We’ve also introduced a number of improvements to the services provided to people who become homeless or who are at risk of becoming homeless.

“There are also plans in place to develop a private sector leasing scheme to provide suitable temporary accommodation units within East Ren”.

Glasgow city council, meanwhile, has stated that it is on target to meet the commitment by the end of the year.

The city authority treated 92 per cent of cases last year as priority needs, and it is hoped that the figure will continue to increase and meet the government target by December 2012.

It’s a drive which homeless charity Shelter Scotland is backing. Gordon MacRae, head of communications and policy, commented: “With one year to go we are encouraged that many local authorities have shown dedication to meeting the 2012 homelessness commitment and that some are in fact already there.

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

“It marks a new beginning for Scotland’s homelessness services where we hope all local authorities will strive to deliver the best possible service to homeless people in their communities”.