Advice, Advocacy and Information Service

This service is a type III accredited service providing advice, information and advocacy across a wide range of housing topics, including homelessness, public and private rent sectors, owner occupiers, housing related benefits, disrepair amongst other issues.

A major reason for opening cases is homelessness prevention.  Over the last decade the Centre has prevented homelessness over 2,000 cases.  The private rented sector is an important source of cases for the Centre, (32% of cases in 2015/16).

  • Provided by Suzanne Slavin, Jill McNaught and Jacqui Monaghan

 

Service User Feedback included:-

“Excellent with a positive outcome”;

“Good, honest and it prepared me”

In partnership with South Ayrshire Council we also provide a Tenant Advice and Information Service.  Much of this work includes moving to electronic benefit claims, direct payments of benefit to tenants, Bedroom Tax and Digital Inclusion work.

Leica Malkin provides advice to tenants on an individual basis as well as delivering training and information sessions to Tenant Groups on a range of welfare issues.

Tenants involved within the Housing Service said: “‘We are delighted that the Housing Service has recognised, along with involved tenants, that Welfare Reform is having a significant impact on tenants and that having this post it is going to benefit tenants of South Ayrshire Council.”

 

Tenure Sustainment Service

This service intervenes at crisis point to try and prevent homelessness.  The main reason for referral is rent arrears with high risk of repossession.  The majority of referrals are from South Ayrshire Council.   The service engages with the service user to develop a sustainable rent arrear repayment plan which includes a full income and expenditure review.  They also link and liaise other potential partner agencies to apply for grants where eligible. In January 2015 the Care Inspectorate gave the service grade 6’s (excellent) across the board.

Key Roles:-

  • Intervention when risk of homelessness due to rent arrears/ mortgage arrears
  • Social and Private rent and owner occupied sectors
  • Primarily aim is to stabilise tenure and prevent homeless at crisis points
  • Income Maximisation, Benefits Check, Backdating, Liaison with Landlord/Lender, Setting up repayment agreements, Fuel Debt and linking with other services (Money Advice/Welfare Rights/ Addiction Services)
  • Main source of referrals are South Ayrshire Council
  • Strong links to Housing Support/ SeAscape
  • Provided by Neil Gray, Clare Lewis and Elspeth Lloyd

 

Service User Feedback included:-

“It was a lifeline during a very difficult time”;

“My Worker was very friendly and provided grateful assistance and reassurance even when I wanted to give up”

 

Education & Engagement Service

Housing Education for Youths

 

 

 

 

The HEY (Housing Education for Youths) Project is part of Education and Engagement.  It provides appropriately structured information on housing and homelessness within Primary and Secondary Schools across South Ayrshire.  In 2015/16 – 1,164 pupils received sessions on Housing and Homelessness.

 

All the sessions had very positive feedback:-

Primary teacher said “excellent Presentation with lots of engaging activities.  Very informative”

Secondary School pupil said “thanks I really enjoyed the Session”

Secondary teacher stated “very relevant topics”

First Home Service

The First Home Project is part of Education and Engagement.  The key aim of the project is to ensure that 16 -21 year olds who apply for Council housing are provided with accurate information on the application process and tenant responsibilities.  We work with them to assess readiness of becoming a tenant and give them information to empower them to make informed choices which in turn reduces tenancy failure.

The project has expanded to include young people who have been accepted as statutory homeless.  This is designed to minimise the stress involved and to promote a successful transition from temporary accommodation to a permanent home.

A Capacity Building Programme has been developed with a range of partners including South Ayrshire Council, Ayrshire College, Police Scotland, Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, Energy Agency.  The aim of the programme is to build confidence, resilience, develop skills (including painting and decorating, cooking on a budget, costs to run a home and progression routes). The 2 pilots have been very successful and the programme will continue to at least June 2017.

Key Roles:-

  • Provide intensive service for 16 – 21 year olds who have a live housing application with South Ayrshire Council
  • Direct Referral from Area Housing Offices
  • Assess readiness of becoming a tenant
  • Outline responsibilities of becoming a tenant
  • Assistance with household bills and budgeting
  • Active signposting to internal and external additional services as required
  • Seamless service right through to allocation and practical help when move into tenancy
  • Provide assistance to access further Education, Training and Employment
  • Provided by Suzanne Moffat, Fallon Heggie and Gavin Kennedy

 

Service User Feedback included:-

“It was very helpful and got me to where I am today”

“I thought it was amazing, was fantastic and appreciate the assistance”

 

First Home Capacity Building Programme

  • This programme is designed to build up a range of housekeeping skills over an 8 week period with the ultimate aim of equipping young people with the knowledge and capacity to successfully live independently
  • Delivered once a week, over 8 weeks, they are provided with further information on moving into a tenancy. This includes increasing skills and confidence and meeting various local services who will play an important role when they are discussing further Education, Training and Employment Opportunities
  • A portfolio is established to contain knowledge and useful information and knowledge gained throughout the programme. This is of particular use as a reference tool should any problems occur in the future when they are housed.  It encourages young people to take control of any housing problems confidently and successfully
  • A Box of useful items is presented to participants once they have successfully completed the Programme. This includes items used throughout the programme, enabling them to continue building on the skills and knowledge gained and to use within their first home
  • Various certificates for recognition of completing the Programme are presented and act as a positive basis for future learning

Helping Older People

  • Attending Sheltered Units when required
  • Provide Information on topics of interests to residents
  • Provide basic advice
  • If required refer to other services provided by the Centre for more detailed help
  • Link to other agencies if required

Info for those at Hospital, University and College

  • Raised awareness to encourage referrals within both Ailsa and Ayr Hospitals so Ward Staff can refer onto us and if appropriate visit patient to give advice
  • Attend Fresher Fayres and various awareness raising events within West of Scotland University and Ayrshire College
  • Provide basic advice & refer to other services provided by the Centre for more detailed advice
  • Link to other agencies if required

Assistance for Veterans

  • Link and Support with Veterans First Point Ayrshire
  • Attend monthly meetings
  • Provide basic training for Volunteers
  • Assist with standard forms and statistics
  • Link Veterans to Centre services or external services