Housing support services Housing support services Homelessness is a reality that affects every Scottish town and city. Everyone needs a safe, warm place to call home. Home is where we feel safe and secure. Home provides a sense of belonging. It supports our physical and emotional health and wellbeing. Having a home is a basic human right. We operate a number of housing support services, to help those in rural communities most at risk of homelessness. Understanding rural homelessness Homelessness isn’t the first thing that springs to mind when you think of the countryside. Rural living usually conjures up images of pretty villages, green space, open-air and blue skies. According to recent studies, rough sleeping in rural communities across Scotland has risen by 65% since 2010. Rural homelessness is often considered invisible and is often missed from important government policy decisions. Homelessness in Argyll & Bute Argyll & Bute has taken great strides in its approach to homelessness over the past few years. Unlike most of Scotland’s other council areas, applications have fallen slightly each year. Homeless applications by year: 2017/18 – 505 2018/19 – 466 2019/20 – 432 However, the pandemic has and will continue to have an effect on people’s lives and livelihoods. Susan Colin, Service Manager in Argyll & Bute, said: “At the moment we are seeing more people than we ever have and our service is nearing its capacity. Our housing support drop-in is helping over 80 people per week, and we have over 200 people we help on an ongoing basis.” Pandemic impact The last year has been busy. With institutes like the Citizens Advice Bureau working virtually, the demand for face-to-face appointments has increased tenfold, and we’re certainly seeing that in Argyll & Bute. Those most at risk of experiencing homelessness are now even more likely to need housing support, while many are also now facing the extreme reality of homelessness for the first time. Thanks to temporary legislation mandating longer notice periods, many renters have been protected from eviction. But when those measures are lifted later this year, an unprecedented number of tenants with unresolved arrears will be at imminent risk of losing their homes. Getting help If you are at risk of homelessness in Argyll & Bute, we can help. Our housing support team: provide tenancy advice and support teach skills for independent living, including help with budgeting Our priority is to help you stay in your own home. Drop-in and face-to-face meetings If you need support, our drop-in service is open: Monday (2-4pm) Wednesday (9-11am) Friday (2-4pm) For independent advice, simply drop-in to our office on Albany Street in Oban, or contact our experienced team on 07827 993020.