UK recognition for Edinburgh homelessness project

A pioneering homelessness project funded by the City of Edinburgh Council is in line for a top award.

A pioneering homelessness project funded by the City of Edinburgh Council is in line for a top award.The Homelessness Prevention Service, run by Edinburgh Cyrenians, has been nominated in the Public Sector Partnership category of the Third Sector Excellence Awards 2012.

The service is designed to help people in danger of becoming homeless stay in their own home without having to move into temporary accommodation.

This can be through a variety of measures which include help with debt issues, problems with landlords/mortgage providers and helping people with health issues or if they are feeling lonely or isolated.

Since the service was set up in April 2009 it has helped over 800 people and only 1% have gone on to present themselves as homeless.

Councillor Cammy Day, housing leader for the City of Edinburgh Council, said: "Achieving this national recognition shows the great strides that the Edinburgh Cyrenians and this Council have made in helping those who are in danger of losing their homes.

"If we can stop people falling into the homelessness trap then they can avoid a whole range of associated problems such as rough sleeping, health issues and increased financial difficulties."

Des Ryan, Director of Edinburgh Cyrenians, said: "I am delighted that the Cyrenians Homelessness Prevention Service has been nominated for the Public Sector Partnership award with Edinburgh City Council. It shows that the service is being given recognition on a national level for its pioneering way of helping prevent homelessness in Edinburgh and keeping people in their homes.

"Scotland is a leading light to the world on homelessness and we must continue in that vein. We're working in a context in which only innovation and transformation will make a difference. The success of this partnership shows that our unique way of preventing homelessness works - saving not just misery but money."

The Edinburgh Cyrenians' Homelessness Prevention service is free to everyone regardless of income or employment status, including owner occupiers, tenants and those with other housing arrangements. There is also a mediation service for landlords and tenants to talk through issues which might cause someone to be evicted.

Through the Homelessness Prevention Service, trained personal advisers are able to meet people either in their own homes or nearby, to talk through the problems they are facing and work out a strategy to deal with the issues.  Cyrenians strongly recommends that anyone who feels they are struggling should contact the charity.

Homelessness presentations to the Council have fallen by 15.6% from 5,512 in 2006/07 to 4,651 in 2010/11.

The key objectives to the Council's Homelessness Strategy 2008-2012 are to:

  • help households prevent homelessness
  • provide better support to people starting out in new accommodation
  • tackle rough sleeping
  • increasing the availability of private rented accommodation for homeless people

The awards take place in London on Thursday 27 September.

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