Shetland Islands Council is one of 18 local authorities in Scotland to meet the historic 2012 homelessness commitment ahead of new legislation coming into force in December.
The council has already met the commitment by abolishing priority need assessments, in effect giving every unintentionally homeless person in the isles the legal right to a home.
The changes have seen an end to the current system where only those people deemed to be in “priority need” previously had the right to a home. The Act passed in 2003 effectively extends the right to a home to single homeless people and couples without children. For the last nine years Scotland’s 32 local authorities have been preparing for the changes.
Shelter Scotland director Graeme Brown congratulated the council on its commitment in preparing for the historic reforms.
He said: “The 2012 commitment is internationally regarded as the cutting edge of progressive homelessness reform and the Shetland Islands Council can be very proud that it is leading the way in making history.
“I congratulate the council on its continued focus on meeting its responsibilities to homeless people and in its early preparedness for the reforms. In already having effective policies and practices in place, the council has ensured itself a smooth transition, and is well prepared for the challenges that lie ahead in continuing to provide a service to those who are at risk of homelessness in a remote and rural area.”
SIC executive manager of housing Anita Jamieson said: “We have managed to achieve the target ahead of the deadline by concentrating on a planned, preventative approach to homelessness. We are implementing an early intervention advice and information service and we are also working in partnership with a number of local agencies including voluntary sector partners.
“As a service we are very pleased to have achieved the target before December, but we are not complacent about the ongoing challenge of continuing to meet the abolition of priority need in to the future. This will be particularly difficult in our self-contained geography and within the constraints and existing pressures on our housing supply.”