Tenants who can’t afford basic furniture are at greater risk of losing their home according to a report launched today by Shelter Scotland and the Community Recycling Network for Scotland (CRNS).
A new report, Furniture for the Homeless, highlights that acquiring essential furniture – such as a bed, cooker, sofa, carpets and curtains – is a basic step towards helping stop the revolving door of homelessness.
However, getting furniture on a low or no income can be a challenge. The report offers a review of the current position in Scotland and identifies concerns about the provision of furniture for people who are homeless.
Problems include the removal of funding support for furniture projects that have traditionally supplied low-cost furniture to those moving on from homelessness, and the lack of a clear and consistent approach to the provision of furniture for the homeless.
Graeme Brown, Director, Shelter Scotland, housing and homelessness charity said:
“Ensuring people who are homeless have adequate furniture is an important part of helping them to maintain their new tenancies and reduce the risk of repeat homelessness.
“Furniture reuse projects play a very important role and the removal or reduction of funding will have a very negative impact on those who require their services.
“There is a pressing need for more guidance and advice to councils by the Scottish Government and COSLA on best practice in this area. There is also a need for a more joined up approach between councils and the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) to ensure that DWP Community Care Grants are used to best effect.”
This report draws on results of a CRNS survey in March 2010 of local authority homelessness strategy officers and CRNS member organisations that work to provide low-cost reused furniture to those on low incomes and benefits. Many of these organisations are seeing an increase in demand for furniture from those in need at exactly the same time that funding is tightening.
Pauline Hinchion, chief executive of CRNS said:
“There needs to be greater recognition of the important role that furniture reuse organisations can play in helping people on low or no incomes furnish their homes.
“Some local authorities and housing associations have realised that it makes good financial sense to provide essential furniture to those moving out of homelessness to help them maintain their tenancies. However, many more need to make the connection between furniture provision and sustained tenancies, and then realise that buying reused furniture gives people a lot more for a lot less money while delivering huge environmental benefits to society.”
The launch of the report is taking place today at the 7th Annual CRNS More Than Furniture conference in Dundee.
Notes to Editors:
2. Shelter Scotland, the housing and homelessness charity. Shelter Scotland believes that everyone should have a home. We help people find and keep a home. We campaign for decent housing for all.
3. Spokespeople are available for interview, telephone the media office on 0844 515 2442. An ISDN line number is available for broadcast interviews.
4. For more information about Shelter Scotland visit www.shelter.org.uk
5. Follow Shelter Scotland on Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/shelterinscotland
Twitter – http://twitter.com/shelterscotland
6. The Community Recycling Network for Scotland (CRNS) represents over 120 recycling and reuse organisations across Scotland on issues of sustainable community resource management. The members are social enterprises managing waste resources at a local level through recycling, reuse, composting, waste prevention and waste education activities. They prevent tonnes of valuable product and materials from ending up in landfill, create local jobs and other economic opportunities, and typically work to help those on low incomes or who are disadvantaged. The CRNS envisages a future where there is no waste, only resources, where people, communities and the environment are valued and respected. More information available at www.crns.org.uk.
7. The CRNS More Than Furniture conference, held every year, is typically attended by furniture reuse projects, organisations that work with or support furniture reuse projects, local authorities (housing, waste, social work, policy and economic development), housing associations, third sector homelessness organisations and the Scottish government.
8. The More Than Furniture Conference provides a key to celebrate and share good practice, facilitate networking, boost morale within the sector, plan for the future of the sector and allow furniture projects to feed into national strategy. More information available at www.mtcconference.co.uk.
Contact: Nicola Baxter, Amanda Howie
Phone: 0844 515 2442