Homelessness is a major problem for Scotland and has been a policy priority there since the five years or so preceding the COVID-19 pandemic.
Councils are having to address cost pressures pre-dating Covid-19, face the consequences of the pandemic, and factor in difficulties created by ‘Brexit’. Faced with uncertainty, financial planning and long-term plans are being addressed cautiously: with the cost of living crisis looming, they are bracing themselves for more. And with good reason: Scottish councils saw a 16% jump in the number of homelessness applications received in the first three months of this year.
Progress has been made, with percentages of homelessness population now lower than in England.
Even so, according to Shelter, in Scotland every 19 minutes a household becomes homeless; 11,804 children were made homeless last year; and 13,097 households are in temporary accommodation. Data from the Scottish Household Survey suggests just over 700 people bedding down on the streets in a single night, amounting to around 5,300 adults sleeping rough at least once per year. There are 95,293 children in Scotland on waiting lists for council housing. There were more than 26,000 households recorded as being in the homelessness system in September 2021.
Alongside councils, Scotland’s housing associations play a vital role in getting people back into housing. They now account for some 250,000 homes, around 10% of the total social housing in Scotland. Some have 'nomination agreements' with local councils so that an agreed number of their vacant properties are rented to people the council proposes its waiting list or housing register. In most areas, housing associations also run joint waiting lists with local councils.
easyStorage Scotland has been working closely with both housing officers, local housing associations and private housing associations to help them ease certain logistical and financial issues.
When someone becomes homeless and is offered temporary accommodation by the council while it looks into their situation, they often can’t keep their furniture and belongings with them. Sometimes it’s because the accommodation the provided is already furnished, other times accommodation is too small to store all belongings.
Councils must also find somewhere to store things safely notably when the property is at risk of damage or loss, or the owner can’t arrange storage for themselves due to a personal risk, finances or illness. This duty applies from the day someone makes a homeless application, and it applies to both the applicant’s property and that of anyone else in the household included in the application. In the year April 2020 to March 2021 alone this amounted to 33,792 homeless applications.
Most councils will sometimes charge something for this service, but realistically many will have to waive charges for people on low income or benefits.
It’s essential that they keep these costs to a minimum to stretch their limited resources to help as many people as possible.
The collect and return service that comes as standard with easyStorage means that possessions can be collected directly from tenant’s premises and loaded safely into storage, and returned to wherever the tenants are homed, saving the councils both resources and logistics.
The same level of care and packing expertise that easyStorage offers all customers applies of course, and the team’s specialist expertise means that space in the storage pod is maximised, keeping costs for the councils and housing associations to a minimum.
easyStorage franchisees are picked in part for their empathy. Storage often comes with big life changes, and these are not always happy – think death, divorce, disaster. The easyStorage Scotland team is renowned for not just that empathy, but also for the team’s upbeat, helpful attitude.
Moreover, easyStorage prices are always low, around half the price of traditional self storage, so they already have a cost advantage. However, on top of this, made possible by the unique way that easyStorage operates, they also offer special packages to both housing associations and councils.
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Our storage packages have the added benefit of free removal of your items, saving you up to £1,000. All you need to do is pack your items (or we can pack for you, supplying boxes and packing material) and we’ll pick-up your items and store them in our safe and secure easyStorage facility. Then when you are ready, we’ll deliver them wherever you need us to. You just need to give us two working days’ notice. Perfect if you are moving house, running out of space, or just need somewhere to store your stuff.
Our storage plans provide you with a cost-effective alternative to renting your own lock-up storage space as we’ll only charge you for the storage space you need, making it cheaper for you.