TWO of Scotland’s leading advice agencies launched a new joint service today [22nd April] to offer advice and support to struggling households in the Highlands.
Leading housing and homelessness charity Shelter Scotland and Inverness, Badenoch & Strathspey Citizen’s Advice Bureau (CAB) will work together to help families and individuals affected by the ‘Bedroom Tax’ and other welfare changes, those struggling to pay their housing costs, experiencing money and debt problems, as well as anyone facing homelessness or housing difficulties .
Says a spokesperson for Shelter Scotland: “The partnership, operating from an Inverness Hub, is the first of its kind for both charities, who are jointly funding the new service, which will employ a housing adviser and a money and debt adviser.
“The partnership aims to help families and individuals to keep their homes in light of recent welfare reforms, as well as tackle rent and mortgage arrears.”
Speaking ahead of the launch Alison Watson, head of Services at Shelter Scotland, said:
“At a time when increasing numbers of families and individuals are struggling with their household finances, and some are barely keeping a roof over their heads, we are proud to join forces with CAB to bring together the skills and expertise of two of the leading advice agencies in Scotland.
“We have a long history of helping people in the Highlands cope with housing and homelessness problems and we look forward to continuing this good work in the Inverness Hub by partnering with the CAB. Together we hope to help many more families through crisis in the Highlands.”
The service aims to help around 110 people each year, offering weekly drop-in sessions and appointments. Shelter Scotland experts will also offer second tier advice to Inverness CAB advisors and volunteers dealing with housing and homelessness cases.
Alasdair Christie, general manager of the Inverness, Badenoch & Strathspey Citizens Advice Bureau, said:
“This is a great new partnership that will help local people to get the best support. We already support many people in our area and by teaming up with Shelter Scotland we will help even more by providing a focused and targeted service to those in great risk.
“The ‘Bedroom Tax’ is a big worry for a lot of people we support and we hope that together, we’ll be able to give them the help they need.
“CAB and Shelter Scotland both have the experience and resource to ensure this partnership, the first of its kind in Scotland, is successful and improves the lives of Highland folk.”
Notes to Editors:
1. Last year 1,092 households were assessed as homeless in the Highlands. Meanwhile, there are 7,723 of families and individuals on the council waiting list for a home. From April 2013 95,000 social housing tenants across Scotland are set to lose up to 25% of their housing benefit as a result of Westminster’s welfare reforms. In the Highlands, thousands of the some 15,540 people claiming housing benefit will be affected.
2. Shelter Scotland helps over half a million people a year struggling with bad housing or homelessness – and we campaign to prevent it in the first place. We’re here so no-one has to fight bad housing or homelessness on their own. For advice and support visit www.shelterscotland.org or call 0808 800 4444.
3. Spokespeople are available for interview – call the media office on 0844 515 2442. An ISDN line is available for broadcast interviews.
4. Follow Shelter Scotland on Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/shelterscotland Twitter – http://twitter.com/shelterscotland
Shelter Scotland believes everyone should have a home. We help people find and keep a home. We campaign for decent housing for all.
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Contact: Shelter Scotland