Wheatley Group to support 10,000 homeless people in Scotland by 2026

More than 10,000 homeless people in Scotland will be provided with homes by 2026, figures from Wheatley Group have revealed.

A male housing officer talking to a female customer holding a small child on the pavement next to houses

Scotland’s leading housing, care and property-management group made a pledge to tackle homelessness in its 2021-2026 strategy.

New figures show the Group is well on track to meet the milestone figure in three years’ time with 5773 people already moved off the streets or out of temporary accommodation and into a home.

In the first year, 2475 homeless people were given a home by Wheatley Group. In year two, 2207 people were helped to find a home. Up to the end of August this year, a further 1091 people have moved into their own tenancy.

Wheatley Group has also committed to giving 60% of its new lets in the central belt each year to homeless households.

In addition, Wheatley has turned 251 temporary furnished homes into permanent homes for people living in them since June 2020 and created more than 369 Housing First tenancies through a multi-partnership set up to tackle rough sleeping.

The Group includes four Registered Social Landlords – Wheatley Homes Glasgow, Wheatley Homes East, Wheatley Homes South, and Loretto Housing – and has around 63,800 homes for social rent across the country.

Wheatley Group Chief Executive Steven Henderson welcomed the latest figures. He said: “The importance of everyone having a warm, safe, and secure home should never be underestimated.

“As the largest organisation nationally in providing affordable housing, we have a clear role to play in increasing the number of lets to homeless people and families.

“Wheatley continues to lead from the front in helping tackle homelessness across the country, with over 5770 properties let to homeless people and families since 2021 and we are well on track to meet, and likely exceed, our target of 10,000 by 2026.”

A report last month showed homelessness in Scotland had risen higher than pre-pandemic levels.

The data released by the National Statistics Publication for Scotland in August, revealed a 10% rise in the number of households assessed as homeless to 32,242, up from 29,339 in 2021-2022, and a record number of households in temporary accommodation.

Sharon, 53, of Midlothian, found herself homeless after her former private landlord put her rented property up for sale.

Sharon said: “I must thank Wheatley for giving me my forever home – it’s amazing. I don’t have any words that can sum it up. Along with my dogs, this has saved my life and given me a future.

“I used to have my own home, and a second property I rented out. Life was good. Then I fell on hard times. My marriage ended and my mental health deteriorated. I lost my business and, with no family or close friends around me, I had nothing. Life changed overnight. It was horrific.

“I got myself back on track and, as I couldn’t get a mortgage, I found a private let. I was happy and settled for almost 14 years.”

However, a change in circumstances meant the landlord wanted to sell the property, leaving Sharon homeless. In December 2022, Sharon was offered her own tenancy with Wheatley Homes East.

She added: “I’ll never forget when I was told I was being offered a property. I burst into tears with the housing officer. It seemed unreal. I thought she was joking.

“If I was to speak to someone in my situation, I would tell them there is light at the end of the tunnel and there are people who will help. They should speak to organisations like Wheatley Group. They will help. They saved my life.”

Robert, 20, of Glasgow, ended up homeless after a family breakdown. After spending several years in the care system, he found himself sofa surfing for a year and a half.

He said: “My mum kicked me out when I was 17 and although we got back on track for a while, we were constantly arguing, and it became impossible for me to stay.”

Robert was offered a Wheatley Homes Glasgow property in May this year and is enjoying having a place to call home.

He added: “I’m so grateful of the house I’ve been given. Having a roof over my head and space to call my own means a lot.

“I’m trying to get into work now to help me manage. That’s what is going to make the difference for me. I’m learning about money management and looking after the property. I’m getting support from Wheatley to do this when I need it.”

Wednesday, September 27, 2023