Consultation starts to prevent homelessness in capital

Preventing homelessness is at the heart of a new draft commissioning plan approved this morning (24 May) by the City of Edinburgh Council.

The Health, Social Care and Housing Committee agreed to formally consult on the draft Commissioning Plan for Advice, Support and Accommodation Services to Prevent Homelessness 2011-2016.

The plan aims to set out the arrangements that will guide the Council in the commissioning of future advice, support and accommodation services to prevent homelessness.

A key part of the plan is consultation and the draft document approved this morning was the result of extended consultation through focus groups, seminars, sessions with service users, a frontline support workers online survey and a Checkpoint Group.

There will now be a six week period of formal stakeholder consultation on the draft before the proposed final plan is reported back to committee later in the year.

Councillor Paul Edie, Convenor of the Health, Social Care and Housing Committee, said: "Our service has to be increasingly flexible to respond to changing needs and increasing responsibilities. We need to help people find and establish a  home, and support them to keep their home.

"It's important that we take on board everyone's views so we can shape the direction and focus of our strategy to tackle this issue. Once the final plan is approved later in the year we will then be able to take the next steps to eradicate homelessness in Edinburgh."

The Council is planning its service by responding to the following changes:

- it is expected that movement of population and an increasing population will increase demand on the service.

- anticipated changes in welfare reform may result in an increased demand on the service as more people seek advice and/or support.

The Council's homelessness strategy has already resulted in a reduction in homelessness presentations despite a time of economic difficulty. This has largely been achieved by focusing on prevention.

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