Less long-term homelessness in South Lanarkshire despite increased demand

Long-term homelessness has fallen by 41 per cent in South Lanarkshire despite the Covid-19 pandemic.

Housing and technical resources committee chairman, Councillor Josh Wilson
Housing and technical resources committee chairman, Councillor Josh Wilson

The number of households living in temporary accommodation for more than one year has fallen by 39 thanks to the council’s Rapid Rehousing Transition Plan (RTTP).

In 2019-20, 95 households in South Lanarkshire were considered long-term homeless.

Despite the pandemic, which resulted in a 28 per cent increase in demand for temporary accommodation, that fell to 56 in 2020-21.

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In June councillors approved the annual review of the RTTP which has been boosted by £440,000 from the Scottish Government’s Ending Homelessness Together Fund.

This will see an expansion of specialist support services for individuals with complex needs over the next year.

Funding has also been earmarked for dedicated officer posts to support victims of domestic abuse, young care leavers and individuals entering and leaving prison, as well as the continuation of the Housing First programme.

Further development of the digital inclusion project Bringing IT Home will also be prioritised.

Last year also saw 339 homes made available for social rent as part of the plan while the time spent by households in temporary accommodation has “significantly reduced”.

Housing and technical resources committee chairman, Councillor Josh Wilson, said: “I am delighted with the progress that continues to be made under such difficult and challenging circumstances.

“The scale of homelessness facing local authorities continues to require flexibility, resilience and innovation from staff to tackle the increased demand for immediate support whilst still managing to continue with the strategic direction of RTTP.

"Homelessness services will continue to be a key priority in the year ahead.”

Annette Finnan, head of housing services, added: “The council and its partners have had to adapt and transform services in order to respond to the pandemic.

“However, during 2020/21, positive progress was made in meeting the needs of households who experienced homelessness and improving outcomes.”