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Housing Changes Lives: Secure home after being homeless

SFHA's Housing Changes Lives campaign is highlighting why it’s vital that all political parties commit to investing in the social housing sector because of the impact that housing associations' and co-operatives' homes and services have on tenants' lives. 

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Paul Smith, Home Group. 

Paul Smith, 34, was homeless, but Home Group found him a home last year.  

Paul became homeless at the age of 16 due to substance abuse and remined on the streets until he was 21.  

He said: “The Home Group flat is fantastic. I feel secure and safe and hope to be here for a considerable amount of time. 

“I was living in Edinburgh but was desperate to get back to Dundee to where my kids live. I spent weeks in shelters in Edinburgh and managed to get a bed and breakfast for six months. I then moved into supportive accommodation which I didn’t find supportive at all. There was a lot of drug use that was being ignored, even after I reported it. I knew I had to get out.” 

Unsure of what to do, Paul made a desperate plea on a Dundee community group on Facebook to ask for help in getting accommodation in Dundee. Luckily for Paul, Home Group Housing Manager Stephanie Tynan was also on the group and stepped up to help. 

Paul continued: “It was a big step for me to reach out to people for help, but I’m so glad I did. Steph got in touch straight away and offered to help. I think I made the post on Friday, and by Monday morning, I had a meeting with Steph from Home Group and completed my application. When I was in Edinburgh, I was getting nowhere with applications but within four weeks in Dundee, I was housed. 

“I now have full care of my kids, have a new girlfriend and have passed entry level tests to move into support work. I’ve worked in catering for 15 years, but I want to give something back and help people who have been in situations like mine. I’ve worked with Shelter Scotland on their Time to Change campaign and will continue to do so.” 

As part of its Scottish Parliament election manifesto, SFHA is calling on all political parties to commit to continuing the transition to a rapid rehousing approach to homelessness and the investment needed to deliver it. 

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