Homelessness across West Dunbartonshire has reduced as the council enters its third year of a campaign designed to tackle the issue.

Launched in 2017, the More than a Roof initiative focuses on providing sustainable housing solutions for all West Dunbartonshire citizens.

It aims to ensure homeless people and those at risk of becoming homeless are given the required support as quickly as possible.

At a meeting of the Housing and Communities Committee this month, an update on the progress was given with figures from 2018/19.

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Councillors were told the number of people presenting themselves as homeless has reduced by 9 per cent to 1,037 cases compared to the 1,135 in 206/17.

Youth homelessness in the area has also gone down by 17 per cent – to 240 cases – since the scheme began.

At the meeting, Peter Barry, strategic lead, housing and employability, said: “Homelessness is a challenging area of work, it was challenging in West Dunbartonshire given the high number of incidences.

"We had a big improvement journey to take on and have done it. Now the challenge is to sustain it.

“One of the ways we did it was to reframe homelessness, not as a problem but as something we seek to prevent.”

Council leader Jonathan McColl added: “I do think this is one of those services where we absolutely get it right and have done for some time.

"We have a very committed staff group from all levels, and I think that the success is born out of the fact that those that are delivering the service generally care about the individuals they are helping.

"That can be seen in the speed and the strength of the response that you see whenever somebody presents themselves as homeless or whenever they get alerted to somebody sleeping rough.

"And that’s why we don’t have rough sleepers in West Dunbartonshire, because the team respond instantly and wrap around the services there.”

The report also states that housing officers have been able to assist 100 per cent of households requiring temporary accommodation with a place to stay.

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And West Dunbartonshire Council’s Rapid Rehousing Transition Programme, which is awaiting confirmation of funding from the Scottish Government, will be implemented from this year.

This new approach will ensure homeless people in the area are fast-tracked to settled accommodation.

Speaking after the meeting, Councillor Caroline McAllister, vice convener of housing and communities, added: “It is heartening to see that the hard work we are putting into tackling homelessness is paying off.

“Seeing a reduction in presentations and a reduction in child homelessness is great progress and I’m sure with our Rapid Rehousing Transition Programme, we will see further improvements in the coming years.”