Rapid response strategy brought in to tackle growing Angus homelessness problem

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A new rapid response initiative has been put in place to help support Angus people who descend into homelessness, and reduce the risk of it happening in the first place.

The Rapid Rehousing Transition Plan (RRTP) is a five-year initiative which aims to address homelessness more proactively by focusing on prevention, moving people through temporary accommodation to permanent housing more quickly and improving the support they receive through better joint working.

It is part of a bid to reverse a trend which has seen the average stay in temporary accommodation almost double from 73 days in 2016/17 to 132 days last year.

In 2017/18, of 741 homeless applications there were 557 homeless cases where Angus Council had a duty to find settled accommodation.

Fewer than 2% of those were rehoused in the private rented sector, illustrating the pressure on local authority provision.

Angus communities convenor Councillor Mark Salmond, said implementation of the rapid response strategy was an  important step forward in the fight against the problem.

“This transition to rapid rehousing approach represents a significant culture and system change in how we respond to homelessness,” said the Montrose Independent.

“Many homeless cases are complex, and people often have multiple needs and vulnerabilities which bring many challenges, both for public agencies and the community.

“Prevention must be our first priority.

“That means directing our resources to things such as mental health support, combating substance abuse and helping prevent relationship breakdown.

“For those who do become homeless we will prioritise the allocation of our accommodation to them so that we can deliver the support they need to re-establish themselves quickly in the community.”

Kirriemuir SNP councillor Julie Bell said: “It is clear we have a major log jam in the housing system, particularly with homeless people.

“We need to deliver more holistic support, we need to end rough sleeping and we need rapid results on this.

“We have a legal duty and we have a duty of care –  a moral duty.”

Housing service leader John Morrow acknowledged that there may be a knock-on for others awaiting a council house in Angus.

“The homeless are often the most vulnerable in society so we think it is right to prioritise.

“Understandably that may mean that others on the waiting lost may have to wait a little longer to get the house of their aspirations.”