LEADING housing and homelessness charity, Shelter Scotland, has appointed solicitor, Gabrielle Miller, to strengthen its in-house law service as demand for the service soars.
In the last year, Shelter Scotland’s free national helpline has seen a 44 per cent increase in homeowners calling for advice about repossession. In the last year almost 1,000 homeowners have called the charity for help with repossessions most often, according to Miller, because there has been a loss of income in the household due to unemployment and they have been unable to meet their housing costs.
Miller joins the team of legal experts after previously working for Tayside Police and Dundee North Law Centre.
The service works to help homeowners and tenants avoid homelessness by representing clients before and during court proceedings.
Gabrielle Miller said:
“I join Shelter Scotland at a challenging time, when many more families and individuals in crisis are desperately seeking legal advice and representation.
“The service has a track record of helping households to avoid losing their homes as a result of repossession or eviction and I look forward to working with the team to help achieve positive outcomes for our clients.”
Eleanor Hamilton, Principal Solicitor for Shelter Scotland, said:
“We’re delighted to welcome Gabrielle to the team at a time when it’s never been more important for families, tenants and homeowners facing eviction or repossession to access free, impartial legal advice and representation.
“As the recession continues to bite, our team of specialist solicitors can ensure that losing your job doesn’t have to mean losing your home.”
Last year, a Shelter Scotland’s Housing Law and Debt Advice Project covering Tayside, Central Scotland and the Scottish Borders won another 30 months’ funding from the Scottish Legal Aid Board (SLAB).
In all, £755,380 has been committed to the service so it can extend its current offering, which was launched in 2009.
The existing housing law and debt advice service has since been boosted by the addition of two HODP lay reps to give clients legal support and representation in court. Currently there are only a handful of HODP lay reps in the whole of Scotland.
The Project’s money and debt advisers help clients negotiate with lenders to make payment plans and its lawyers provide legal representation and advice on repossession and eviction. The advisers also help families and individuals to budget and maximise their incomes.
Notes to Editors:
1. Shelter Scotland helps over half a million people a year struggling with bad housing or homelessness – and we campaign to prevent it in the first place. We’re here so no-one has to fight bad housing or homelessness on their own. For advice and support visit www.shelterscotland.org or call 0808 800 4444.
2. Spokespeople are available for interview – call the media office on 0844 515 2442. An ISDN line is available for broadcast interviews.
3. Follow Shelter Scotland on Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/shelterscotland Twitter – http://twitter.com/shelterscotland
Shelter Scotland believes everyone should have a home. We help people find and keep a home. We campaign for decent housing for all.
Contact: Shelter Scotland