West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine MP Andrew Bowie has visited an Aberdeenshire project supporting people with substance use problems into accommodation.
He met the team at Aberdeenshire Options and Homelessness last Friday and heard about the innovative ‘Housing First’ approach.
Housing manager Allan Jones explained the effectiveness of ‘Housing First’ and the additional challenges of implementing it in rural areas.
The scheme focuses on getting homeless people with complex needs, such as harmful alcohol use, into stable, secure housing before working with them on other problems.
Mr Bowie said: “The Aberdeenshire team is doing important work for those who have become vulnerable to substance abuse.
“In rural communities, whether it’s drugs or alcohol, a good home and the opportunity to turn round a bad situation is vital.”
Councillor Anne Stirling, chair of Aberdeenshire Council’s communities committee, said: “As well as supporting the Housing First service for more than two years, we are also part of the Housing First Pathfinder project to help with the learning across Scotland about the needs of those in rural areas.
“Participants in the scheme have multiple and complex needs and this normally includes substance misuse and we want to keep supporting these needs in innovative ways to ensure we get engagement. We welcome the recognition of the good work that is being undertaken locally.”