The Housing Strategy Team Monthly Update - June

Out and About in Haddington, Gifford and Prestonpans 

This month, the Housing Strategy Team began engagement within East Lothian’s Area Partnerships, being warmly welcomed into community-led groups based in Haddington, Gifford and Prestonpans.

We discussed what home means with ‘Primary 4 to 7’s’ attending a Haddington youth group, through the use drawings and building-block structures. A youth group for those of secondary-school-age in Haddington invited us along to chat housing and growing up in East Lothian. A similar session was held with teenagers at a youth group in Prestonpans. There we saw the importance of creating safe-spaces for young people to interact and get support when needed.

The Housing Strategy team also dropped into a lunch-club based group in Prestonpans, to find out the housing challenges and priorities for the area from those aged over-60. We will be attending more community-led activities within each of the Area Partnerships next month- keep an eye out for us.

Youth Homelessness in East Lothian

We continued our discussion on youth homelessness in East Lothian. We heard from those working at New Horizons- who offer temporary accommodation and support for homeless young people. They spoke of what can and should be done to help those already experiencing youth homelessness as well as how to prevent this from happening to future young people. We also spoke to homeless young people living in a temporary accommodation, provided by Blue Triangle. They shared their experiences and housing hopes for the future.

Joining East Lothain Work's ESOL Classes

We joined East Lothian Work’s ESOL (English for speakers of other languages) class, who deliver English language courses in East Lothian. We were invited into two virtual classes to speak all things housing in East Lothian and their ideas of improving services and community connectedness in the county.

Hearing from East Lothian Council Colleagues

We held more virtual workshops for colleagues within East Lothian Council. The ‘Occupational Therapy and Acute Hospital’ team shared their knowledge on adapting people’s homes to help them live more independently and the impact Covid-19 had has on services. They addressed the issues a delayed stay in hospital, from not having a suitable house to go home to, can have on a person and their family, and discussed possible solutions for this.

We also spoke to colleagues within the ‘Homeless Response team', who discussed with us the challenges within their role, and what can be done to ensure the effectiveness of housing services within East Lothian. We plan to continue these workshops with other teams within the Council in the next month.

Housing for Veterans 

We explored the unique housing challenges faced by veterans through a virtual workshop, attended by East Lothian Council colleagues and representatives from third-sector groups- including Poppy Scotland and Veterans Housing Scotland. They spoke of the support already available in East Lothian for veterans and how this can be improved to help veterans find homes and live happily in them, such as ensuring homes are easily adaptable.

'Stepping Out' North Berwick 

We were invited along to Stepping Out’s (a charity offering support to those living with mental health issues/illness) lunch group in North Berwick. Over a cup of tea, the group shared with us their lives in East Lothian, and their main concerns for housing- such as the raising energy prices and wheelchair access within properties. 

Making Musselburgh Dementia Friendly

The Housing Strategy Team and colleagues from The Health and Social Care Partnership joined Dementia Friendly East Lothian for their event at Queen Margret University. The event focused on the progress made to establish a ‘Meeting Centre’ for those living with dementia and their families in Musselburgh. The attendees, including those living with dementia, those caring for them, and members of Alzheimer Scotland, also shared with us how homes, spaces and neighbourhoods can be friendlier to those with dementia.

Have Your Say - Private Sector Landlord survey

Our survey for private landlords of East Lothian properties, delivered by Arneil Johnston, launched this month. The 10-minute survey looks at the key issues faced by landlords, and is hoped to expand knowledge on the private rented sector within the county for the upcoming Local Housing Strategy. Landlords of East Lothian- have your say here. A survey designed for private sector tenants will soon be available.