Dundee City Council announces ambitious homelessness plans

© Yui Mok/PA WireCouncillor Kevin Cordell backs the new homelessness strategy
Councillor Kevin Cordell backs the new homelessness strategy

Temporary homeless accommodation could be phased out for people in Dundee under innovative new plans.

The programme would “fast track” homeless people to permanent, furnished accommodation, dubbed by the local authority as the Rapid Rehousing approach.

It ensures people are moved to fixed dwellings, rather than temporary accommodation like hostels or hotels when homelessness cannot be prevented.

If temporary accommodation is needed, it would be for as minimum a time as possible, with as few moves as necessary.

Dundee City Council has developed its new plan in conjunction with the Dundee Health and Social Partnership.

The Scottish government has allocated £51 million funding for which local authorities can apply.

Homeless groups have called the council plan “innovative” and hope it will go some way to preventing the “revolving door” of homelessness among those who traditionally struggle with traditional housing and social care solutions.

The latest plans, which councillors have been asked to approve during Monday’s meeting of the neighbourhood services committee, coincide with a number of initiatives spearheaded in Dundee, including the Homeless Strategy and Not Just A Roof programmes.

Kevin Cordell, convener of Dundee City Council’s neighbourhood services committee, said: “We are already one of five pathfinder councils in Scotland for the Housing First model which puts more focus on early intervention and support, finding out why people become homeless and developing ways to address that.

“The Rapid Rehousing transition plan takes that a stage further by acknowledging that when people do become homeless we need a partnership approach to ensuring that the time they spend in temporary accommodation is kept to an absolute minimum.

“However when temporary accommodation is needed the best type is mainstream, furnished within a community.”

Trudy McLeay chair of the Dundee Health and Social Care Integrated Joint Board said: “People are at the heart of everything we do and homelessness is a complex issue.

“The support of the partnership in addressing the reason people become homeless and how they can get into and sustain a tenancy will be crucial to the success of the plan.”

Bryan Smith from Dundee’s Housing First support consortium said: “Housing First Dundee is an innovative programme that will work positively and proactively with those that have had difficulty in engaging with traditional housing and support services due to a variety of complex needs.

“It is an exciting opportunity to give participants hope and end the revolving door of homelessness. The first tranche of participants will move into their tenancies in early 2019.”