When the coronavirus outbreak began early this year, homelessness organisations along with local councils and Scottish Government moved quickly to protect people experiencing homelessness, especially people who were sleeping rough, from the pandemic, providing them with somewhere safe to stay and self-isolate.

This undoubtedly saved lives.

Once in the hotels, organisations like Crisis have been working to provide support to people to move on into more permanent, stable accommodation.

Along with Streetwork and Cyrenians, we set up a new pilot scheme which focused on helping people move on from homelessness and into a privately rented home.

In April, the UK Government increased the rate of housing benefit so that it now covers the lowest third of rents across the rental market.

This meant that hundreds of properties were now affordable for people who relied on benefits in Edinburgh, offering a route out of homelessness.

The pilot, which is funded by Scottish Government, began in April, with the partners working to build the pathway from hotels to safe and settled homes for people with a range of support needs.

Crisis was able to build on the success of its Help to Rent scheme, which already works closely with landlords and people experiencing homelessness across Edinburgh to help find a settled home in the private rented sector.

We liaise closely with landlords and agencies, Cyrenians co-ordinates the service, and Streetwork ensures tenants have a full package of person-centred support.

Assessment process

This support is trauma informed and begins while the person is experiencing homelessness, assisting them through the assessment process which includes finding the right home for them.

Person centred, the support ranges from helping people to move in, set up and maintain a home, to supporting them to pursue their own goals in life.

Emotional support is a key aspect of the help provided to assist people to successfully leave homelessness behind for good.

We’re supporting people to leave homelessness behind for good because of the scheme.

We’ve built up stronger relationships with landlords and letting agencies and built our understanding of the support needs that people experiencing homelessness may have so that we can continue to successfully support people to find and maintain a tenancy in the private rented sector.

We know that ending homelessness is possible. Through access to the private rented sector and support to maintain a tenancy, we know that people are provided with a base to rebuild their lives and leave homelessness behind for good.

If you’re a letting agent or landlord and would like to discuss a potential property – or simply find out more on about Help to Rent or the PRS Pilot – please contact Crisis’ PRS Service Manager, Eluned McHardy on 0131 209 7700 or eluned.mchardy@crisis.org.uk

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