HOMELESS people in East Renfrewshire are to be asked how support services can be improved.

East Renfrewshire Council’s approach to addressing homelessness is set to be reviewed as the Covid-19 crisis highlights “just how many people are insecure in their housing situation.”

In 2019/20, there were 344 homeless presentations to East Renfrewshire Council.

These people will be asked about the services they may have used and will be involved in how they are delivered.

They will also be asked whether there were any missed opportunities to prevent homelessness.

A report to Cabinet members states: “While homelessness and rough sleeping in East Renfrewshire is lower than some of our neighbouring authorities, it still presents a significant challenge for the council and the local community.”

It adds that domestic violence, financial hardship due to an uncertain labour market or low wages and unscrupulous private landlords can all lead to people losing their home at a moment’s notice.

The report states that tackling homelessness is not just about housing and requires access to financial advice, legal advice, mental health support and addiction services.

People at risk of homelessness can be faced with a “complicated, time consuming and sometimes expensive” process, navigating a range of services.

All Scottish councils have a duty to help those threatened by homelessness, provide temporary accommodation and give a reasonable offer of accommodation if a person is “unintentionally homeless.”

The report reveals there is room for improvement in East Renfrewshire’s approach to providing services and “how they knit together.”

But it can be “difficult” for services without a “clear indication” of what is needed.

“The best way to establish what services are needed and how these services can be delivered is to ask homeless people,” the report adds.

“We need to ensure that services are designed to meet the needs of customers as articulated by them and not as imagined by professionals.”

The “low levels” of rough sleeping in East Renfrewshire mostly occur before the council is contacted for help and homeless people are the “top priority” for the allocation of housing.

Read all the latest from Barrhead and beyond