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Service helps young homeless people in Renfrewshire

An event is being held to promote a Renfrewshire service helping young homeless people develop the skills they need to get their own homes.

The Paisley Project is a partnership between Blue Triangle (Glasgow) Housing Association (BTHA) and Renfrewshire Council and provides support for homeless young people in the Renfrewshire area between the ages of 16-25.

The project is delivered at two sites in Paisley, one at Argyle Street, which is owned by Paisley South Housing Association and one at Bruce Court, Dundonald Road, which provide supported accommodation for young homeless people.

Each young person gets their own one bedroom furnished flat within the two main units and there are also four flats available within the West End area, where young people can take a further step towards independent living.

Blue Triangle (Glasgow) Housing Association provides staff at the two sites to enable the young people to develop their skills to sustain their own tenancies and empower them to develop and realise their own potential and become part of the community.

The activities involved include budgeting, cooking, domestic skills, confidence building, educational development, health care, social skills and leisure activities. The project is also now able to provide follow on support for young people moving out of the project and into their own home.

The funding of the staff team is provided by Renfrewshire Council.

Councillor Brian Lawson, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Housing and Community Safety Policy Board, said: “There can be a number of reasons why young people become homeless and this can be a very difficult situation to get out of. This innovative project sees the council working in partnership with Blue Triangle Housing Association to help young people get back on their feet and empower them to go on to get their own homes and feel part of the community again.”

The aim of the service is to work with the most marginalised young people and BTHA operate an “open access” policy which ensures that they work with individuals facing a wide range of issues and will only exclude from the service if it would mean others would put at risk.
Since January 2010 the new joint service has taken 74 referrals and 54% of those have succeeded in moving on to their own tenancy. The average length of stay for each service user is between four and six months.

Fiona Stringfellow from Blue Triangle Housing Association, said: “We are delighted to be working with Renfrewshire Council on this project which is all about changing people’s lives for the better. We know homelessness is often not resolved by just giving someone a house as there are many and complex reasons for their homelessness. We at Blue Triangle work with the young people to ensure that they leave the project equipped with a range of skills that hopefully means they won’t come back into the system. The young people can be challenging, however, seeing someone that the staff have worked with leaving and taking their first steps towards independent living is always rewarding.”

The project works with a range of partners to ensure a joined up approach to support young people to gain skills, including Social Work Through Care, Paisley Threads (Barnardos), First Crisis (Renfrewshire Association for Mental Health) Renfrewshire Council on Alcohol, Renfrewshire Drugs Service, Kibble Works, Princess Trust, Reid Kerr College, Buddies for Learning, Spark of Genius, Apex, Careers, Furniture Initiative and Renfrewshire Workforce Plus.

The event is being held to provide partners and other organisations with a better awareness and understanding of the work that is undertaken and the support provided to young people in Renfrewshire.