Prevention is Better than Cure

I joked to my kids on Tuesday morning over breakfast that the Minister was coming to wish me a happy birthday (55!), but Keith Brown was actually along to Cyrenians to announce a further 19% reduction in homelessness presentations in Scotland.

Joined together in tackling homelessness. (Where’s the cake?)

As said before, Cyrenians are all for celebrating progress. We’re also banging the drum for the cross-sector, cross-party unity of effort that has been fundamental to the outstanding progress in Scotland. So it was good to have along to the event City of Edinburgh’s new Leader for Housing & Community Safety, Councillor Cammy Day and officials who have done such a good job locally in improving services for tackling homelessness. Speaking to them together, I’m confident the commitment remains strong and that everyone knows that reaching the 2012 target is just a base camp for the challenge ahead.

Keith Brown, the Housing Minister, met and talked with some of the customers of Cyrenians unique Homeless Prevention Service. They enjoyed that. Our customers have some important things to say. We’ve captured some of this on video.

It remains a source of deep frustration for Cyrenians that the Prevention Service has not yet been scaled up or adopted by other local authorities. It has a 99% success rate in stopping people losing their home – with the misery that entails. And the evidence shows that those people don’t just survive but go on to thrive because our front-line staff empower them to manage better in the future. Why isn’t this available to more than the 400 people a year in Edinburgh it serves? A 19% reduction in homeless presentations to local authorities is great, but that still leaves over 45,000 people in Scotland teetering on the edge of homelessness: enough to fill Hampden. (And don’t get me started on hidden homelessness!)

Maybe it’s a good sign that the Minister came to us to present the new statistics and meet customers. Cyrenians will continuing pushing for wider adoption of the Homeless Prevention Service model for people the length and breadth of Scotland to come back from the brink of losing their home and becoming homeless – and then to turn their lives around. We have proved that it saves misery and saves money.

As the title says…

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Des Ryan (CEO)


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