FREE INDEPENDENT HOUSING INFORMATION, ADVICE AND ADVOCACY SERVICE
Type III Accredited Housing Information, Advice & Advocacy Service
Our Housing Advice Service is accredited to Type III of the Scottish National Standards. Over the last 35 years we have provided independent information, advice and advocacy across all housing topics including homelessness, public and private rent sectors, owner occupiers, housing related benefits, disrepair and Landlord/Tenant disputes.
Our Team share good practice and case examples and provide peer support for each other. We provide internal and external training to organisations and within communities. We liaise with relevant South Ayrshire Council staff, partner agencies and tenants and keeps abreast of legislative changes which impact our Service Users.
We continue to be flexible in our approach to meet the needs of our service users and deliver outreaches at Ayr Jobcentre, Care and Share at Riverside Church, the Foodbank at Lochside Church and South Ayrshire Life as well at other local organised events and open days. Outreach is currently suspended due to COVID-19.
We strive to ensure our Service Users are claiming any benefits or discounts they are entitled to relieve poverty and increase incomes. In addition to this we access external alternative funding streams and grants to prevent homelessness and reduce poverty and isolation wherever possible.
Prison Housing Advice Service
The Prison Housing Advice Service covers both East and South Ayrshire areas and is fully supported by our existing Advice and Advocacy Service above. It provides a comprehensive service for Service Users who were resident in East and South Ayrshire Council Areas prior to going into prison and those who wish to return. The service is provided in HMP Kilmarnock, Barlinnie and Greenock.
This service promotes Ayr Housing Aid Centre and raises awareness of the work we do by attending events, linking in with community groups and actively engaging with South Ayrshire Council and various local services. We attend various events, link with community groups and actively engage with South Ayrshire Council and other local services. We have an active social media page and we always encourage the community to check for updates on community events we are attending and for general Centre updates.
Tenure Sustainment Service
Our Sustainment Service achieved the highest grade (6) at our most recent inspection by the Care Inspectorate.
Key roles include:-
HEY (Housing Education 4 Youths) Project
HEY provides appropriately structured information on housing and homelessness within Secondary Schools across South Ayrshire. We deliver the information over 2 lessons covering the costs involved in running a home, tenancy rights and responsibilities, reasons for homelessness and discussions on current Welfare Reform. From 2012 – 2020 we delivered HEY lessons to 6,450 pupils across all Secondary Schools in South Ayrshire. Lessons are designed to inform pupils on housing and homelessness at an appropriate level. Part of the development work includes feedback from pupils and Teachers to improve future sessions. COSLA Bronze Award Winner 2015 for Strong and Sustainable Communities
PREVIOUSLY PROVIDED SERVICES –
(July 2012 – August 2021)
First Home and Care Experienced Service
Our First Home Service also achieved the highest grade (6) at our most recent Inspection. This dedicated Service works with young people aged 16 – 24 who have a live housing application with South Ayrshire Council. The key aim of the Service is to ensure that this age group who have applied for Council housing are provided with accurate information on the application process and tenant responsibilities.
Each young person is actively involved in assessing their own readiness of becoming a tenant and will complete various stages on their “First Home Journey” in preparation for moving into their first home.
First Home encourages young people to prepare for moving into independent living and/or avoid moving out of their current accommodation prematurely. We ensure young people are making informed choices and a secondary outcome of the service is to prevent premature tenancy failure which can disproportionately affect this age group.
The service has expanded to include young people who have been accepted as statutory homeless. The service encourages readiness with accurate information on the application process and tenant responsibilities in preparation for a successful transition from temporary accommodation to a permanent home. Key Roles:-
2015 Gold Outstanding People Award for Innovation
First Home – Capacity Building Programme
This programme is designed to increase skills over a 6 week period with the ultimate aim of equipping young people with the knowledge and capacity to successfully live independently while skills and confidence are increased. Introductions are made to various local services who will play an important role when in their own tenancy and when they are looking at future progression routes such as further Education, Volunteering, Training and Employment Opportunities. Key Aims:
COSLA Bronze Award Winner 2016– Achieving Better Outcomes
Designed from Service User feedback to reach the wider community to ensure practical information sessions are available for those over the First Home age group. 4 Core sessions covering topics most preferred from our research have been successfully delivered. Information is delivered in an informal and enjoyable setting to encourage engagement, enjoyment, participation, resilience and capacity.
Cooking on a budget
Painting and Decorating
Universal Credit and Employment / Training
Budgeting, Money Saving and Tenancy know how