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Rough sleeping in Dundee “not a problem” housing convener says

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Rough sleeping in Dundee is “not a problem”, according to the Council’s housing convener, as it is revealed homelessness in the city is continuing to fall.

According to Council statistics, homelessness applications have fallen by over 40%, which is in excess of the national average of 36%.

To be homeless, an individual does not necessarily have to be living on the street.

A variety of situations can fall into the definition, such as staying with friends and family, in a hostel or bed and breakfast hotel, or living in a house that is not suitable because of illness or disability.

Other criteria include living in an overcrowded home or living in otherwise poor conditions that affect personal health, or being at risk of violence at home.

Strathmartine Councillor and Convener of Neighbourhood Services, John Alexander, said that it was important to acknowledge the varying circumstances those without a home face.

He said: “We do not have a problem with rough sleeping in Dundee, we work with a couple of individuals that do rough sleep and are ready to offer them accommodation should they choose to accept.

“The fall in homelessness has been largely due to the refocusing of our service here in Dundee on prevention rather than crisis management — the earlier that you can get involved and help people who are facing a difficult situation, the better.

“We are ambitious in our aim to eradicate homelessness and despite the challenges, we have had significant successes in supporting people finding themselves in a homeless situation.”

Councillor Alexander added that the Council has invested around £5 million a year to the cause, working with groups such as Action for Children, Women’s Aid and the Salvation Army.

In Dundee, there are around 300 units of temporary accommodation set up to assist those in a homelessness situation.

However, Michelle Harrow, Shelter Scotland Dundee’s community hub manager, said there is still an issue with permanent housing for homeless people.

He said: “In Dundee, the problem is a severe shortage of permanent social housing so people can spend around 19 months in temporary accommodation.

“While this is better than sleeping rough it still doesn’t give people the settled accommodation they need to thrive.

“Everyone unintentionally homeless in Scotland already has a legal right to access temporary accommodation from their local council and when people come to us for help in Dundee we can find them somewhere safer than the streets.”

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