The Salvation Army in Scotland is calling on the Scottish Government to continue protecting homelessness services amid uncertainty over future funding.
Housing Minister Kevin Stewart visited the charity's Pleasance Lifehouse (supported accommodation) in Edinburgh today (Thursday November 17), where he met residents and saw the work being done by The Salvation Army to try and break the cycle of homelessness.
The Salvation Army has asked the Housing Minister to protect funding for homelessness services in light of the UK Government’s proposal to reduce the rate of housing support residents can receive from 2019. The proposals, if implemented, would lead to an average cut of 41 per cent in Housing Benefit entitlement for each resident of The Pleasance Lifehouse.
Iain Wilson, manager of the Pleasance, said: “It was great to be able to share our work with someone who may be able to influence future policy. We provide more than just housing support to people in need. We empower our service users to become independent.
"I have asked Mr Stewart and the Scottish Government to ensure the funding devolved to Scotland continues to be used wisely to provide the best support for those who need it most.”
Housing Minister Kevin Stewart talks to residents of the Pleasance Lifehouse
Mr Stewart MSP said: “I was delighted to meet the residents and staff of the Pleasance Lifehouse today to find out more about the excellent work of The Salvation Army.
“The Scottish Government recognises the valuable role of supported accommodation provided by organisations like the Salvation Army which can help and support vulnerable people.
“We intend to use funding, when it is devolved, to put the whole sector on a sustainable and secure footing, and ensure continued support for everyone who relies on it, including vulnerable homeless people. We look forward to continuing to work with our partners across the sector to achieve this.”
The Salvation Army’s Pleasance Lifehouse provides accommodation for around 40 single men each night, with a further eight residents supported in nearby flats designed to prepare people for living in their own homes. Residents can choose their support worker from a team of specialised staff and even have a say in how the various services are delivered. The centre has an IT suite, gym, dining area and chaplain, and staff run a range of activities aimed at improving residents' mental and physical wellbeing.