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Formerly homeless Dundee man praises housing association support

Formerly homeless tenants are being supported. Igor do Vale/Shutterstock

A formerly homeless Dundee man has welcomed a housing association’s commitment to helping vulnerable tenants.

Paul Smith said when he moved into a Home Group Scotland house, he struggled to settle.

He said that coming from being homeless, he felt he needed extra support.

Mr Smith added: “I personally suffer from mental health issues and I know others who do too. A check in or nod from a housing manager now and again would help.

“Some people may also have extreme loneliness if they’ve moved into a place where they don’t know anyone.

“They might even have social anxiety issues and are scared to approach their neighbours as this is common for people who have lived without a home.

Paul Smith
Formerly homeless man Paul Smith is being supported by Home Group Scotland in his tenancy. Supplied.

“I really think a regular phone call or visit from a housing manager would make the world of difference.”

Home Group Scotland’s new policy helps to identify any tenants who may need additional support due to previous circumstances, or ongoing health issues.

Mr Smith continued: “By identifying an individual’s background from talking to them and even from their application form, it will be easy to see who needs a bit of extra support and after care when moving into a new home.

“I’m really glad that Home Group are taking this step and hope other housing associations follow suit.”

Helping Out

Housing Options Adviser Lynsey Beckett, who helped develop the policy, said: “Making sure customers are properly supported, especially during their first year in a home with us, is something that the team feel very passionate about.

“A lot of times, we’ll house a new customer who is in a stable position, but within a few months that could change.

“They could lose their job, have family issues or develop health problems.

“Our aim is to have these relationships so that we are aware of these issues at the right time so we can help them.

“We also house a lot of customers who used to be homeless or may never have had the responsibility of managing their own home before.

“For them, we need to hold their hand through the early stages and make sure they feel supported and stay in their home.”

Karen Wolstencroft, head of service delivery, added: “Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, the team made it their mission to insure that every customer felt supported.

“By talking to everyone on a regular basis, we managed to spot customers who were struggling and helped them come up with a solution.

“This new framework carries on that mission. It will enable us to build even stronger relationships with our customers so they can turn to us when they need support.

“We will do everything we can to support them to manage their tenancy well.”

Home Group Scotland work closely with groups such as Shelter, Woman’s Aid, Positive Steps and Turning Point when housing new customers.

The new guidelines will insure all customers are evaluated. Housing managers will have regular check-ins to identify any issues.

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