Our volunteer Rowan writes about the work of our integration team with housing association Glen Oaks.
Many New Scots find the housing system hugely complex and often find themselves homeless or at risk of homelessness. In an attempt to improve this situation we work in partnership with Housing Associations to increase the housing options and quality of housing available to people we support. We are currently working with Glen Oaks Housing Association, a registered Social Landlord (RSL) and charity, to identify families in need that would benefit from a housing nomination. In addition, regular ‘Meet the Landlord’ events provide our clients with the opportunity to meet directly with housing providers and discuss their options.
By working with Glen Oaks we are hoping to secure more suitable housing for New Scots and to decrease waiting times for suitable housing in these areas. Without housing associations getting on board with all that we do, we would struggle to support the people we work with.
According to the New Scots: refugee integration strategy 2018-2022, in order to ensure successful integration into Scottish communities, people in need of protection must have access to suitable and sustainable housing. However, New Scots transitioning from asylum support to mainstream social security and housing face a number of challenges.
Firstly, on getting the right to remain in the UK, people must find somewhere to live. After receiving refugee status, individuals are given an eviction notice and must leave their current property within 28 days, giving them very little time to secure housing. This situation means that many refugees find themselves homeless. 98% of newly granted refugees who access SRC services are homeless or threatened by homelessness. In Glasgow, this has led to newly granted refugees making up 17.7% of live homeless applications.
Additionally, our clients face barriers in accessing services, support and essential information relating to housing, including their rights and responsibilities, information on how to set up utilities and services, and support with moving and furnishing new homes.
By developing positive partnerships with Housing Associations such as Glen Oaks, we can have a positive impact on the lives of our clients in relation to housing and homelessness. Partnering with RSLs means there is the potential for refugees to skip the 28 day move on period and move straight into settled accommodation. They reduce the amount of time people spend in temporary accommodation meaning families are settled quicker. Creating these relationships with a variety of RSLs across Glasgow also means that there is a better available supply of housing throughout Glasgow to meet increasing demand. These positive outcomes are generated as a direct result of these relationships.