We've saved 1200 people from being made homeless

A GLASGOW project has prevented 1200 people in the city becoming homeless, it was claimed today.

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Govan Law Centre has run the Prevention of Homelessness Project in the city's South West for two years.

It is based on the belief that early intervention can help prevent unnecessary evictions.

In its new progress report, the centre states that since the project was set up it has prevented 1200 people from becoming homeless, saving about £25.5million in public money.

The Law Centre says if the scheme was extended nationwide it could potentially save the Scottish Government at least £320m.

Mike Dailly, the centre's principal solicitor, said: "With our project, we show that early intervention works, but also that it has to be co-ordinated.

"Often people who are in these difficult situations will not go for help early on.

"We provide not just very fast specialist legal and money advice services, but we can also connect the person with any other services he or she may need."

The project employs a partnership between the centre, Govan Money Matters and SouthWest Community Health and Care Partnership, as well as different voluntary organisations, such as the Scottish Association For Mental Health.

It is designed to highlight that eviction and repossession are usually the tip of a whole range of social and associated problems for those who are vulnerable to the risk of homelessness.

The project recognises there are important indicators that could result in problems leading to eviction and homelessness. These could include those in rent arrears or living in poverty, or those with social worries, such as health or mental health problems.

People who look vulnerable are flagged up by the partnership to the Law Centre early on, which can then intervene or refer them to the appropriate support.

Alistair Sharp, the project's senior coordinator, said: "We are looking at savings to the public purse and preventing people facing the trauma of eviction and homelessness.

"Court action can be avoided by early intervention."

fiona.mckay@ eveningtimes.co.uk

A GLASGOW project has prevented 1200 people in the city becoming homeless, it was claimed today.

Govan Law Centre has run the Prevention Of Homelessness Project in the city's South West for two years.

It is based on the belief that early intervention can help prevent unnecessary evictions.

In its new progress report, the centre states that since the project was set up it has prevented 1200 people from becoming homeless, saving about £25.5million in public spending.

The Law Centre says if the scheme was extended nationwide estimate this it could potentially save the Scottish Government at least £320million.

Mike Dailly, the centre's principal solicitor, said: "With our project, we show that early intervention works, but also that it has to be co-ordinated.

"Often people who are in these difficult situations will not go for help early on.

"We provide not just very fast specialist legal and money advice services, but we can also connect the person with any other services he or she may need."

The project employs a partnership between the centre, Govan Money Matters and SouthWest Community Health and Care Partnership, as well as different voluntary organisations, such as the Scottish Association For Mental Health.

It is designed to highlight that eviction and repossession are usually the tip of a whole range of social and associated problems for those who are vulnerable to the risk of homelessness.

The project recognises there are important indicators that could result in problems leading to eviction and homelessness. These could include those in arrears or living in poverty, or those with social worries, such as health or mental health problems.

People who look vulnerable are flagged up by the partnership to the Law Centre early on, which can then intervene or refer them to the appropriate support.

Alistair Sharp, the project's senior coordinator, said: "We are looking at savings to the public purse and preventing people facing the trauma of eviction and homelessness.

"Court action can be avoided by early intervention."

fiona.mckay@ eveningtimes.co.uk

HOW centre helped ONE FAMILY -

COLETTE McAlpine, 26, from Pollokshaws, and her family faced the threat of eviction after an injury meant she was unable to work.

Her husband Joe, 31, was struggling to find work after losing his job as a football coach.

Mrs McAlpine gave up studying primary teaching to work full-time in a bar to support them and their nine-year-old son Raymond.

Then she fell down a hatch door and fractured her hip and was unable to work.

She said: "We had to start dipping into our savings.

"We had applied for benefits, but as we had not been on any before we did not know what we were doing and it took a long time.

"I didn't realise the severity of the situation, I just thought everything was going to be okay."

After running up rent arrears, the family was served with an eviction notice from Glasgow Housing Association and a court summons.

The family went to the Citizens Advice Bureau and were referred to the Govan Law Centre, which provided the McAlpines with a solicitor.

The centre helped them get benefits claims backdated and also helped the family set up a payment plan that avoided eviction.

Mrs McAlpine said: "If it had not been for Govan Law Centre, we would have been homeless.

"When you sit with someone who helps, and says, 'Why did you leave it this long?' you really see why you need to start looking at the problems early on.

"If we had known about the service six months before, we would not have ever been in the position where GHA could have served us an eviction notice."

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