Renfrewshire’s Tackling Poverty Commission turned its focus to ‘housing, place and community’ recently as it continues to gather evidence and build the picture of deprivation in the area.

The Commission looked at the evidence behind the changing housing picture in Renfrewshire, and the increase in people renting from private landlords.

Alison Watson, Deputy Director at Shelter Scotland and Commission member said: “A stable home is a firm foundation to supporting families out of poverty. High quality, affordable and secure housing plays a vital role in minimising household costs, and can have a significant impact on a family’s health and wellbeing.”

The Commission discussed key issues around housing and place, including supporting people to sustain their tenancies, linking housing support with relevant issues like employability, and addressing homelessness and regeneration.

The Commission agreed there needs to be improvements in the private rented sector, with a need for higher standards and better regulation to protect tenants.

Susan Aktemel, Director of Scotland’s first social enterprise letting agency ‘Homes for Good’ spoke to the Commission about how a more supportive and customer-focussed approach was making a difference to vulnerable tenants in Renfrewshire and across Scotland.

Through its work the Commission has also identified that strong communities are key, and held a special meeting recently to look more closely at a community building approach called ‘Asset Based Community Development’.

Councillor Mike Holmes, Chair of the Commission said: “The Commission wants to look more closely at how we can better understand the strengths and resources of communities, and support people to build on their strengths to deliver the sustainable and positive changes that they want to see in their local area.

“The Commission has gathered a significant amount of useful evidence, as it brings a fresh approach to tackling Renfrewshire’s deep-rooted deprivation issues. I look forward to the Commission taking this forward to our recommendation setting phase.”

The Commission continues to gather evidence with the next meeting planned for Tuesday 28 October, 1.30pm, in Tweedie Hall, Linwood, to focus on Maximising Household Income.

It will move to its recommendation setting phase later this year.