A project aimed at combating homelessness has achieved “significant” early success, a charity boss has said.
The Housing First scheme launched last April in six parts of Scotland – including in the city and Aberdeenshire.
Statistics published last October show more than seven people are recorded as homeless in the Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire area each day.
The idea of the scheme is to reduce that figure by giving homeless people tenancies and providing them with extra support as long as they need it.
New figures provided by the Aberdeen Cyrenians charity to the Evening Express show the scheme has provided homes to 36 people in the north-east.
The participation rate – the figure that measures how many days service users have complied with their tenancies – is 96%.
It has been so successful that Cyrenians, which is leading Housing First in the north-east, is planning to appoint some of the service users as peer support workers to provide role models for new people enrolling on the scheme.
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Cyrenians chief executive officer Mike Burns said: “These figures represent a significant early success for Housing First.
“Many of the people who are benefiting are people who have repeatedly identified themselves as homeless and who have cyclical needs.
“Providing them with support through the project has helped free up resources for other people.
“We are extremely pleased with the progress that has been made thanks to the partnership working between Cyrenians, Aberdeen Foyer, Turning Point Scotland and Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire councils.”
One service user said: “I’ve been homeless about five times since I was 16.
“I’d always just end up slipping back into addiction and intravenous use of heroin, taking fake Valium and stuff like that.
“It was when Housing First Scotland got involved that I got this tenancy.
“It is a brand new start for me.”
The Scottish Government created a £6.5 million pot to fund Housing First in October 2018.
Some of the cash came from funds raised by more than 1,800 people who slept out in Duthie Park one night in December 2018 – an event organised by Social Bite, which also arranged sleep-out events in other parts of the country.
Housing First will run until March 2022 and is hoping to provide homes to at least 120 people by March 2021.