The latest figures released by the Scottish Government show that Perth & Kinross Council's Housing Service is continuing to deliver sector-leading outcomes for people experiencing homelessness.
Perth & Kinross Council was already one of the leading local authorities in Scotland in this area of work. The recently released figures for 2022/23 show that key performance indicators such as the average duration of homelessness and average length of stay in temporary accommodation continue to be the best in Scotland and well below the national average. This is despite significantly increased demand alongside a sharp reduction in properties available to allocate, an issue which many other Scottish local authorities also face.
The Council has taken a 'Home First' approach to tackling homelessness since 2017. Home First was introduced with the aim of providing a direct route for homeless people into settled accommodation, reducing the need for temporary accommodation and minimising the duration, impact, stigma, and cost of homelessness.
In 2018, the Scottish Government instructed all local authorities in Scotland to produce a Rapid Rehousing Transition Plan (RRTP) - with the main aim of moving to a rapid rehousing approach over a five-year period. Our Home First approach has enabled Perth & Kinross Council to deliver a rapid rehousing model well before the target timescale of 2023/24. Our approach remains a model of best practice.
The new Scottish Government performance statistics revealed that Perth & Kinross Council:
- Had the shortest length of stay in temporary accommodation in 2022/23 with an average of 71 days. The national average was 223 days.
- Had the lowest number of households in temporary accommodation compared to the total number of households in the area.
- Is a leading authority for duration of homelessness, with an average of 78 days. The national average was 266 days.
- Through our work with The Rock Trust charity to support young people experiencing homelessness, reduced the number of young people aged 16-25 who presented as homeless.
- Experienced a 19% increase in homelessness presentations in the context of a 9% increase nationally. While we want to understand that increase compared to the national average during 22/23, we know that in previous years Perth & Kinross Council had successfully reduced homelessness presentations by 39% since 2017, while homelessness increased nationally year-on-year.
Housing and Social Wellbeing Convener, Councillor Tom McEwan, said: "2022/23 was an extremely challenging year for delivering homelessness services with cost-of-living pressures and other factors increasing homelessness.
"These statistics reflect our commitment over the last five years to reduce homelessness in Perth and Kinross, and a determination that anyone facing homelessness will be provided with settled accommodation quickly to help them lead a quality life and reduce the stigma attached to homelessness. I would like to congratulate all of the Housing staff involved for their fantastic efforts, which have made a positive difference to the lives of so many people.
"Our Home First approach has transformed outcomes for people who need homelessness support in Perth and Kinross and has provided the resilience a flexibility needed to minimise the impact of an increase in demand. I am delighted that we can say that our Council continues be a national sector-leader in the delivery of homelessness services."