Prevention or Cure

Last week’s Scottish Budget announcement has underscored an increasing emphasis on preventative services.

Cyrenians is currently working with Pro-Bono Economics to do the sums to demonstrate the financial wisdom of local authorities, like City of Edinburgh Council, in funding early interventions such as our Homeless Prevention Service (HPS) to help people on the edge of losing their home to avoid that – saving huge misery and money in over 90% of the 400 plus cases served each year.

In this instance prevention, in every way, is better than cure. The only mystery is why Cyrenians Homeless Prevention Service is – as yet – the only service of its kind in Scotland. (Local authority readers might want to come and talk to us).

But ‘prevention or cure’ is sometimes a bit of a false dichotomy. Preventative spend is often focused on early years intervention and children’s services. But is it best to focus on the parent or the child? 86% of Cyrenians SmartMove tenants are lone parents who were at risk or without a settled, stable home until being helped to a private rented tenancy and home by the excellent SmartMove staff and volunteers. If the parent doesn’t have a settled foundation to their life what chance the child?

Prevention or cure? Both I’d say.

(Nota Bene for those too young: the picture is from the 1967 documentary Cathy Come Home that woke the nation to the realities of homelessness)

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