A MAN recently found living rough in the area was in the housing department within an hour of being seen on the street by the council’s top boss.

West Dunbartonshire Council’s chief executive, Joyce White, was described as “distressed” upon seeing the person.

Peter Barry, the council’s strategic lead for housing and employability, told last week’s West Dunbartonshire Health and Social Care Partnership (HSCP) meeting that Mrs White called him at 8.15am on her way to the office.

He said it had been the first time she had seen someone staying on the street in the area and “within an hour, he was in our office”.

It was not stated in the meeting whether the incident was in Dumbarton or Clydebank.

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Mr Barry recounted the anecdote after a presentation on the council’s plan to tackle homelessness. He said the area didn’t have “an issue with street homelessness”.

West Dunbartonshire remains high in the stats for homelessness in Scotland and will require £4.6million from the Scottish Government over the next five years.

WDC’s rapid rehousing strategy, “Home at the Heart” had already been backed by the recent housing and communities committee of the council before going to the HSCP.

Rona Sweeney, a member of the HSCP and the Parole Board of Scotland, told the meeting she found the “housing first” policy for the council “appealing”.

But she raised the challenges of housing support for those released from prison.

She said: “We often see prisoners after recall who have gone through temporary accommodation and the support trails off in the current model.

“So I like the support element in all that. I wonder if the plan could be more ambitious in terms of that.”

Mr Barry said such housing causes and solutions were “extremely complex”.

Ms Sweeney added: “I think ‘housing first’ should be for everyone.”