A “significant number” of vulnerable rough sleepers in Dundee have been “lost” by the council, Scotland’s housing regulator has warned.
Warnings of a rise in the number of people applying for help to the local authority, as well as some losing contact with those working with the city’s homeless, has been detailed in a report compiled by the Scottish Housing Regulator (SHR).
Homeless charity Shelter Scotland said they had shared concerns with the council that some families and vulnerable people were not being helped quickly enough.
The SHR said there was a noteworthy number of rough sleepers lost to view by the council and acknowledged measures were being introduced to reintroduce contact between vulnerable people and the authorities.
The report – part of a wider local scrutiny plan – is due to go before the council’s own scrutiny committee on Wednesday.
Alison Watson, deputy director of Shelter Scotland, said: “Last year in Dundee 945 households were assessed as homeless and there was a 26% rise in children in temporary accommodation. In addition, more than 1,200 people in Dundee approached Shelter Scotland for help last year.
“This report highlights some important areas for action and improvement for Dundee’s vital local homelessness services.
“We are encouraged the council has recognised these challenges and are committed to listening to the views of people with lived experience of homelessness to continually improve these local services.
“Shelter Scotland has been working closely with Dundee City Council to share our concerns that some vulnerable people and families do not get the help they need quickly enough.”
In its report, the SHR said: “We continue to identify risks in relation to how people get access to its services and the number of homeless applications that the council makes.
“There are a significant number of rough sleepers and a high number of people with whom the council loses contact across its homeless services.
“The council has decreased the number of allocations it makes to homeless people and the number of people waiting for an outcome has increased significantly this year.
“The council has recently undertaken a number of actions to help address the homelessness issues. It has introduced a central location for crisis applications, begun work to improve its lost contacts, is working with partners to contact rough sleepers in the city and has revisited its homelessness allocations targets.”
A Dundee City Council spokesperson said: “The council has recently introduced a number of actions to help address homelessness issues.
“It has introduced a central location for crisis applications, begun work to improve its lost contacts – working with partners to contact rough sleepers in the city and has revisited its homelessness allocation targets.”
Dundee City Council has pledged to provide 100 homes for rough sleepers as part of a “game changing” social initiative.
The local authority has also said it will contribute to Social Bite’s 600 Homes Campaign, which aims to tackle Scotland’s homelessness problem, by making 100 properties in the city available to rough sleepers.
Over the next two years the programme, backed by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, will aim to provide homes and support to 600 people in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Dundee.
In addition, the housing regulator notes Dundee social landlords are ranked in the bottom quarter nationally in relation to re-let times, gas safety and the time it takes for emergency and non-emergency repairs to be made on properties correctly and at the first attempt.