Five year strategy on homeless declared ‘great success’

COUNCILLORS WILL BE told today that a five-year strategy aimed at tackling homelessness in Moray has been a “great success”.

In a report being put before members of the communities committee figures show that homelessness has fallen in the region by almost 42% – while the use of temporary B&B accommodation has also been reduced.

The Moray homelessness rate is now at 3.7%, significantly below the national average of 5.8%.

Credit for the improvement is being given to a strategy implemented in Moray in 2010 that sought to ensure appropriate support and assistance was provided to the homeless. The impact of that strategy, according to the report, is that 310 new council homes have been built in Moray over the five-year period while the temporary housing stock operated by the council has fallen from 189 to 159.

However, Moray continues to face a number of challenges that could impact on homelessness – notably the introduction of Universal Credit, due to be rolled out in Moray this September.

Now council officials are recommending that a second strategy is implemented from this year, saying: “Although the completion of a homelessness strategy is now optional for local authorities, this council has seen real benefits from having such a strategy in place.

“For that reason, it is recommended that the council develops a further homelessness strategy from 2015 to 2018 that will run concurrently with the local housing strategy.”

The chairman of the communities committee, Eric McGillivray, welcomed the figures but insisted much was yet to be done: “The success so far has been down to a lot of hard work from the housing team – but we are not complacent by any means, there is a long way to go.  We still have 400 houses a year to build for the next ten years to get back on track.”