Scotland’s largest housing group offers empty homes to homeless

Wheatley, Scotland’s largest housing, care and property-management group is to make empty homes available to local authorities as temporary accommodation for the homeless.

Wheatley homes

It is one of a raft of measures aimed at tackling the impact of the Coronavirus on the  93,000 homes Wheatley owns and manages, the 7000 people a year it works for in care and its 2500 staff.

The Group will offer empty properties to the four local authorities it has a strategic agreement with: Glasgow, Edinburgh, West Dunbartonshire and West Lothian.

Glasgow Cathcart MSP James Dornan praised Wheatley’s offer to help the homeless and said: “In this time of emergency, everyone has a responsibility to do all they can to combat Covid-19. I’m delighted to see Glasgow Housing Association and Wheatley Group lead by example and hope this will now be replicated across the sector.”

Wheatley Chief Executive Martin Armstrong said the Group was determined to do all it could, working with its partners, to protect some of the most vulnerable people in society.

“We are committed to supporting the most vulnerable during these extremely difficult times. We estimate up to 300 homes across Scotland could be handed on to our four strategic housing partners in the next three months.”

Following NHS and Scottish Government guidance, Wheatley’s 500 housing staff across Scotland are now working from home, having been set up with all the necessary I.T. and equipment to do so. They are being supported by environmental staff who continue to provide essential services, ranging from fire-safety patrols to multi-storey block cleaning in Glasgow and bulk uplifts.

“Our over-riding priority is to ensure tenants and their families remain safe and secure in their homes while safeguarding the welfare and wellbeing of our staff,” said Mr Armstrong.

In doing so, the Group’s six Registered Social Landlords – GHA, Dumfries and Galloway Housing Partnership, Dunedin Canmore, Cube, West Lothian Housing Partnership and Barony – are only able to offer a restricted range of services.

“Our dedicated staff are doing a fantastic job in the most difficult of circumstances,” said Mr Armstrong. “As always, they have gone the extra mile in creating and adapting to a challenging working environment, helping us put in place a new service model that enables us to support tenants, their families and communities at a time of acute concern.”

Wednesday, March 25, 2020