People experiencing homelessness due to mental health issues and addiction in East Dunbartonshire can now get help to find their own tenancy. Big Lottery Funded

Turning Point Scotland East Dunbartonshire Housing First supports people into mainstream social housing and offers 24 hour support to individuals who are homeless, aged 18 or over and have mental health issues or involved in drug/alcohol misuse.

Turning Point Scotland Glasgow Housing First and Turning Point Scotland Renfrewshire Housing First are already supporting people to find and maintain their own tenancy, with over 80% of residents successfully sustaining their accommodation and living independently with support to suit their specific needs.

The Housing First model originated in New York and versions of the model are now operating across a number of cities in Europe.

Instead of individuals progressing through transitional housing and their offer of a tenancy being dependent on fully addressing their substance misuse, the risk of further homelessness is removed by getting a tenancy first.

Susanne Pritchard, Service Manager, East Dunbartonshire Housing First said:

“By reducing the risk of further homelessness, people have a better chance of addressing some of the underlying reasons why they became homeless in the first place. Having a tenancy gives them a safe, stable environment where they can access community support, health care and social benefits.

They will be supported to work on reducing their substance misuse and also given advice on tenancy management, budgeting, personal safety, cooking and food shopping.

By using a harm reduction approach rather than abstinence, people can be honest with their key worker if they require additional support during a difficult period.”

Turning Point Scotland Chief Executive Martin Cawley said:

“The success of our original Housing First service in Glasgow has given us the belief that the approach will work in other parts of the country.

The three year pilot was independently evaluated by Heriot Watt University and the report found the majority of individuals had kept their tenancy, with over half for two years or more.

What was particularly encouraging was the fact some of the people benefitting from the Housing First approach were those who traditionally didn’t engage with services in the past.”

Turning Point Scotland is one of the country’s leading social care providers, operating 35 services in over half of Scotland’s local authorities in 180 locations.