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Identification of site for new homeless facility in Inverness and disposal of Huntly House (21/05/09)
A potential site has been identified in Burnett Road, Inverness for the development of a new Housing and Health Advice Centre and associated housing.
The Highland Council’s Housing and Social Work Committee is being asked on Wednesday 27 May to carry out further site investigations and to continue discussions with NHS Highland over the funding of the partnership project, which would replace the day centre services currently provided at Waterloo Place and the homeless hostel services which were provided at Huntly House.
The Committee is also asked to approve marketing the disposal of Huntly House, Inverness, which until January, 2008, was leased to the Salvation Army as a hostel for the homeless, and three adjoining properties at 3, 3a and 4 Huntly Street.
A report to the Committee states that bringing all the services under one roof at premises on Burnett Road – owned by the Council and formerly used as a timber yard and road haulage depot - would be beneficial in terms of efficiency and would improve the standard of service provided to clients. The new Housing and Health Advice Centre would carry out the additional function of dealing with homeless presentations in Inverness, freeing up pressures on the Service Point, 23 Church Street.
The site is deemed suitable because it is close to the city centre, local amenities and transport links and easily accessible whilst at the same time affording separation from residential areas.
Council Officers recently carried out a visit to a number of innovative projects in Glasgow which will inform the type of services and facilities to be provided in the proposed Housing and Health Advice Centre.
The services that will be provided include homelessness applications advice and assistance (including homelessness prevention and resettlement), housing options, direct engagement with rough sleepers, coordinated housing and health advice, with a dedicated housing team supported by:-
- Community Nurse – generic (mainstream mental health)
- Community Nurse and Support Worker (drug and alcohol misuse/addictions)
- Dental service (mobile unit)
It is also proposed to build supported housing, including short term intervention and assessment, above the Housing and Health Advice Centre. It is proposed that these are built by a local housing association, Albyn Housing Society, in order to maximise the level of government funding levered into the project.
The Committee will be asked to approve a contribution of £30,000 from the Council’s landbank facility to forward fund the necessary site investigations for the Housing and Health Advice Centre and associated housing.
A further report will be presented to members once the feasibility study is complete, outlining the capital and revenue costs of the project.