Call to Invest in Prevention

It was alarm clock set for 05.00 a.m. and a taxi booked for an interview on Good Morning Scotland alongside ‘Laura’ – one of the 400 people a year being helped by us to avoid homelessness. Then came the call from the studio to say we’re bumped from the schedule by a breaking news story. Ironically – some would say – that breaking story was about the Occupy Camp in Glasgow agreeing to resite to Kelvingrove. I was disappointed for Laura. She is passionate about sharing her experience in the hope that others look for help before the problems become overwhelming. Still, we’ve been filmed for STV news this evening and the story is out on media portals.

We’re launching our report today – reception at the Scottish Parliament this evening – demonstrating that acting early to prevent people at risk from losing their home saves the person from the misery of homelessness while also making savings for the local authority and allowing them to concentrate resources on the long term homeless with more intransigent problems.

We’re reporting a 99% success rate in working with around 400 people a year, with success measured by the fact that, one year on from our help, those people had not presented to the Council as homeless. A more detailed evaluation of 50 cases reveals that the people helped are not just surviving but in many cases thriving as a result, with improved health and well-being, improved income, less isolation and better job prospects.

Everyone concerned has done a truly great job in designing and delivering the Homelessness Prevention Service, including our partners at City of Edinburgh Council. We think it has the potential to be rolled out across Scotland to prevent 1,000’s of people a year from losing their homes and sliding into deeper problems. Every success is a resource saving for local authorities: saving the cost of temporary accommodation and even recovering rent arrears.

So today we’re calling out to everyone and anyone who can help make this a reality across Scotland: local councils, the Government, the business sector, funders, researchers… We’ve got a scalable model that clearly works, so let’s make full use of it in preventing the misery of homelessness where we can, and in the process saving resources that can be targeted at those already homeless and with more complex and enduring needs.

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