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STUDY SHOWS PREVENTING HOMELESSNESS SAVES MISERY AND MONEY

STUDY SHOWS PREVENTING HOMELESSNESS SAVES MISERY AND MONEY (Refuge / Emergency Accommodation)

by administrator @, Monday, November 07, 2011, 20:09

The first ever major study into Scotland's pioneering homelessness prevention service has shown a near 100 per cent success in stopping people from losing their home, while saving a local authority money in the process.

The 'Prevention Saves Money and Misery' report released by the Edinburgh Cyrenians, which focuses on its specialist Homeless Prevention Service, calls for more money to be spent on prevention in Scotland, in light of the risk of homelessness rising and to help councils meet the upcoming 2012 homelessness target.

Edinburgh Cyrenians CEO Des Ryan said the Homelessness Prevention Service, which is commissioned by the City of Edinburgh Council and was the first of its kind, was a pioneering model of best practice.

He said: "Scotland is a leading light to the world on homelessness and we must continue in that vein. The new report shows that our pioneering way of preventing homelessness works - saving not just misery but money. We propose to policy makers that stopping people becoming homelessness should be a key part of preventative spending."

The study comes at a time when interest in prevention is at an all time high, following the Christie Commission's recent report and the Scottish Government's focus on prevention in September's budget statement.

Welcoming the report, Minister for Housing and Transport Keith Brown said: "The Scottish Government is aware of Edinburgh Cyrenians' valuable contribution towards tackling and preventing homelessness.

"We welcome this research which shows the effectiveness of a preventative approach. This benefits not only those being assisted by the project but also the wider community.

"Scotland has an important, but challenging, homelessness target: that by the end of December 2012, all unintentionally homeless households will have the right to settled accommodation.

"With the evident success of Cyrenians Homelessness Prevention Service, we are a step closer to meeting that target."

The in-depth study demonstrates the effectiveness of the service in preventing homelessness, with 99 per cent of people the Cyrenians charity worked with in 2010/11 still being in their home a year later.

It also shows that prevention can save councils' money and brings other improvements to people's lives, in particular their financial, employment and health circumstances. For example, within a sample of 50 service users studied in depth for the research:


The Cyrenians Homelessness Prevention Service helped people pay back £19,400 in rent arrears, around £15,000 of which went back to the City of Edinburgh Council.

Eleven had moved into employment since first contact with the Cyrenians. Many had seen a significant increase in income during that time.

During their first assessment, 30 people talked about being depressed but within a year this had reduced to 14 people reporting depression.

Volunteering hours in the local community had risen from 624 to 1,040 during a one year period.

Councillor Paul Edie, Housing Leader for the City of Edinburgh Council, said: "Support from Edinburgh Cyrenians, along with our other partners, has helped many people who are in danger of falling into homelessness. Preventing homelessness means they can avoid a whole range of associated problems such as rough sleeping, health issues and increased financial difficulties.

"These findings are testament to the hard work carried out by Edinburgh Cyrenians, the Council and our partners in tackling homelessness and shows that our radical strategy is paying dividends by helping those who need it most. Homelessness in the Capital has reduced by almost 15 per cent in the past five years which is a fantastic achievement in these tough economic times."

www.cyrenians.org.uk


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