providing timely advice, Scottish housing minister Calum MacDonald
Launching nationwide the Scottish Homeless Advisory Service
'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.'
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