Fife Council has been working together with voluntary sector organisations across Fife to deliver a project called Prevention First.
So how does Prevention First work?
John Mills, Senior Manager, Housing Management and Homelessness, explained: “By using this new way of working, we’re trying to prevent people from becoming homeless as well as reach the homelessness target set by the Scottish Government that we have to achieve this year. Basically, it’s about giving people information and options to avoid becoming homeless. The Fife Homelessness Partnership, which is made up of the council, NHS Fife, Housing Associations and our partners in the voluntary sector, can help anyone who comes to us in a range of ways by giving them a realistic solution to their housing problem.
By carrying out in-depth interviews we can find ways of helping people to find a way to keep their home, giving support to keep them in settled accommodation, exploring the person’s housing options with them and providing information about money matters and advice services."
Samantha Lally is one of the programme’s success stories. Last year she was struggling to pay the rent with just a part time job. The former law student from Glenrothes was given three weeks to move out of her home and faced becoming homeless. The 25-year-old went to Fife Key Fund and got help with a deposit for a less expensive flat, allowing her to have a permanent home. Ms Lally said: "It was terrifying, it really was. I didn’t know what to do. I was contacting friends because I had three weeks to be out of my property. I don’t know where I would have been without their help; I couldn’t afford the deposit, couldn’t get a council house, I would have been in a hostel or something which isn’t ideal for anybody". Gareth Allenby from Fife Key Fund said: "There’s still a stigmatism that homeless means you are out on the street but that’s not the case. If you are not in settled accommodation then you are technically classed as homeless. If you are worried about where you are going to sleep in two, three, four weeks time then that’s when we want to pick you up so you are not in the position where you have to access temporary accommodation”. In the first six months of the project, the number of homeless people in Glenrothes has dropped by 62% and in Levenmouth it has fallen by 35%. The scheme offers advice and support to people before they lose their permanent address.
Date: 06 Jul 2012
For more information contact
Tel:08451 55 55 55 + Ext 444548