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PREVENTION OF HOMELESSNESS IN SCOTLAND RECEIVES BOOST

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A new Scotland-wide network will help prevent homelessness by ...
A new Scotland-wide network will help prevent homelessness by

providing timely advice, Scottish housing minister Calum MacDonald

has announced.

Launching nationwide the Scottish Homeless Advisory Service

(SHAS), which is receiving£250,000 a year from The Scottish Office,

he said:

'The fight against homelessness will continue to be a major

government priority, backed by special initiatives worth£25m.

'However, prevention is a key part of our homelessness policy and the

provision of timely advice is crucial to achieving this. Readily

available advice can often help avoid homelessness arising, for

example by helping examine the tenancy rights of those faced with

eviction or assisting with rent arrears difficulties.

'This service provides the right type of advice. It is accessible advice, provided through the widespread network of Citizen's Advice Bureaux, and it is expert advice, as Bureaux can draw on the knowledge and expertise of Shelter Scotland.

'The government is committed to working with voluntary

organisations and I was therefore very pleased to provide funding to

extend SHAS throughout Scotland. It is a valuable addition to the

range of services already available, and provides an excellent example

of how interagency co-operation can work towards tackling one of the

major blights on our society.'

NOTES

1. SHAS is a joint project by Citizen's Advice Scotland and

Shelter Scotland and is funded by Scottish Homes 'HomePoint' and

The Scottish Office. The service was launched originally in Fife,

Tayside and Central Scotland in 1994, and extended to Dumfries and

Galloway and Strathclyde in 1996. Following an independent

evaluation of the project it was decided to extend the Service to the rest of Scotland - the Lothian, Borders, Grampian and Highland areas from April 1, 1998.

2. The advice service is provided through Citizen's Advice

Bureaux, which already deal with housing cases and related problems

such as debt. Shelter Scotland provides training on housing issues and

legislation for CABX staff to improve their own expertise, and in more

complex cases Shelter advisers provide advice by telephone, or can

take up cases themselves.

3. SHAS has been funded since its inception by Scottish Homes

HomePoint, which gives grants for information and advice projects.

Last year The Scottish Office gave Shelter and Citizen's Advice

Scotland£114,000 to prepare for the all Scotland service, and will

provide£250,000 a year for SHAS over the next three years. SHAS

will continue to receive funding from Scottish Homes -£134,000 this

year.

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