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Northern and islands RSLs take part in homelessness prevention project

Housing associations take part in homelessness prevention project.

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Whenever a landlord raises proceedings to end a tenancy, by law, it must serve to the relevant local authority a section 11 notice to allow the local authority the opportunity to prevent the tenant being made homeless.

According to Scotland’s Housing Network (SHN) data, in 2017/8, only 12% of those notices resulted in homelessness being prevented. SHN is currently leading a project funded by the North and Islands Homelessness and Housing Options Hub to investigate ways to improve that performance.

There are three factors which might help lead to homelessness being prevented: more helpful information being shared with the local authority, information being shared earlier in the repossession process, and the local authority working more closely with the landlord on preventing homelessness. The project is exploring whether different approaches on any or all of these fronts might lead to fewer tenants losing their homes.

Lewis Hannah, Housing and Homeless Service Manager with Highland Council and North and Islands Hub Lead, said: "Prevention is the best approach to ending homelessness. If we can learn what changes to our systems and our practices would enable more vulnerable tenants to remain in their own homes, rather than facing the uncertainty of homelessness, that has to be a positive outcome for all concerned."

SHN is working on the project with four local authorities – Highland, Aberdeen City, Shetland Islands Councils, and Comhairle nan Eilean Siar – as well as housing associations across the region, including Albyn, Grampian, Langstane, Lochaber, Hjaltland and Hebridean Housing Partnership, and SFHA.

The six months project commenced in February, and, when it finishes, there will be an evaluation exercise, and it is hoped that the lessons learned will be made available to the wider sector through a guidance document.

Zhan McIntyre, SFHA Policy Lead, said:

“This is a really interesting piece of work that will help identify positive practice in homelessness prevention.

"I am looking forward to seeing what the outcomes of the project are and how we can help share the learning from this across the sector.”

If you would like to be kept informed of the outcomes of the project, please contact tim.pogson@scotlandshousingnetwork.org

Photograph: View Towards Ben Wyvis by the Highland Council.