A GLENROTHES charity is playing a key role in helping eradicate homelessness, not only in the town but across Fife, reports KEVIN QUINN.
The ‘Prevention First’ scheme is a pilot project, launched in Glenrothes and Levenmouth, with results proving encouraging.
Although the overall trend in homeless applications in the financial year 2011/12 is downward, the figures in Glenrothes and Levenmouth are much more impressive than in other areas in Fife.
The Glenrothes YMCA-YWCA’s Muriel Bradford explained their involvement in the scheme.
She said: “We are just entering the sixth month of this initiative, it has been an excellent thing, we’ve had some really good results.
“The difference being that what we try to prevent homelessness before they have to get temporary accommodation. Helping people get into private lets has been one of the things we have done.
“We also help them to maybe do a bit of family mediation and negotiation. Perhaps young people who have left the family home. We would work to see if there is a chance of helping them stay in the family home.
“And we help people maximise any benefits they are maybe entitled too.
“All the voluntary sector in Fife have been involved in this.
“We provide triage crisis in prevention and we provide early intervention which is continuing to provide support to people.
“We work with all our partners, including those within Fife Council, Gilven House, the Gilven Project and Kingdom Housing.”
Following these successful pilots the project will now be rolled out across Kirkcaldy, Dunfermline and Cowdenbeath in the coming months.
Muriel believes this scheme is vital in reaching the target set by Fife Council to eradicate homelessness in the region by the end of next year.
“This scheme is extremely important and I think the fact that we are getting such good results will show this, she added.
“The 2012 Homelessness target is also extremely important, to ensure that everybody has a permanent home, and as things aren’t going to get any better with regards to the financial situation, it’s so important to reach this target soon.
“We are hoping to reach it by next October by rolling out this initiative across Fife. I hope that the progress we are making here is the same in all areas across Fife.
“Given that the budgets are being cut all the time this is more important than ever.
“If we reach the target we wont have to deliver our homeless services in the future, it will just be about prevention. We will turn these existing costs into support to keep people in there homes.
“On the whole, if we compare like on like to this time last year, the figures are down, which is brilliant.
“This is a very positive time for homelessness in Fife.”