Dundee project working with anti social tenants hailed as pioneeer

A unique project working with anti-social tenants has been a
resounding success and should be copied by authorities across the
UK according to independent research and supported by Jackie
Baillie, social justice minister, writes Reg

The Dundee Families Project, set up in 1997 by NCH Scotland and
Dundee Council, works intensively with families who have been
evicted due to anti-social behaviour. Three families at a time live
in an adapted residential centre providing 24-hour support, and
others are supported in their own homes.

While the project faced fierce opposition from local people,
housing experts and some childcare academics when first proposed,
research, funded by the Scottish executive and carried out by a
team from Glasgow University, has described the work of the project
as a resounding success which other local authorities “may well
wish to copy”.

The research report adds: “Virtually everyone involved in the
study – parents, children and young people, representatives
of other agencies – praised the work of the project, saw it
as offering a unique service and wished it to continue.” The
project has helped 83 families since its inception many of whom
have gone on to achieve their own tenancy and manage it

Jill Shimi, Dundee council’s convenor of housing, said:
“By excluding families from mainstream housing indefinitely, we
were in effect setting them up to fail. The success of the project
has shown that, by providing the necessary support, people can
alter their anti-social behaviour.”

Dundee Families Project has also proven to be cost effective
costing £345,000 per year to run compared with £462,000,
the legal cost of eviction and receiving children into care if it
did not exist. The research also showed that local families who
initially bitterly opposed the placing of the unit in the St
Mary’s area of Dundee had moved in favour of the project. Of
the 23 surveyed only three retained any negative views of the

Joe Connolly, director of NCH Scotland, said: “In the past,
local authorities have felt that they have had little option but to
evict troublesome families. However, experience show that this just
pushes them even further into margins of society. The research
demonstrates that the model pioneered by the Dundee Families
Project is a better way forward.”

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