Dogfish Dan’s Blog – Entry 23

Dogfish Dan is a HOS client who is hoping to move from Wales to Edinburgh to be near his two daughters and his grandchildren.  He’s keeping us up-to-date with his experiences via his blog…

Dogfish Dan’s Blog Entry 23 written on Sunday 19 November

field-picWell, I’m in Scotland, watching the Scotland/New Zealand rugby match on telly, so I’m getting in the right frame of mind for my move up here. Who shall I support, when the crunch matches come…Wales or Scotland?

Things have moved on awhile, and a suitable flat came up for sale last Friday. It passed its first inspection by my daughters, so I came up on Wednesday and checked it out.

Saturday 2 December

And by now, quite a bit more has happened…

I didn’t get the flat that I wanted, which would have been perfect, but hey ho, everyone tells me that something better is bound to come up. At the moment, I find that a bit hard to believe, but have got used to the idea.

I shall just keep my eye on EdIndex to rent, but also on the selling market, and do whatever I can to try to find a roof over my head within a reasonable distance of my daughters. I understand the Scottish system of ‘offers over…’ a little better now, I suppose, and have been assured by other homeowners that they had a number of disappointments before they were successful in buying somewhere. I have a solicitor up and ready to go, with all relevant paperwork in place, and am happy with my daughters judgement of what I would like.

I met my grandchildren from school, went to listen to some jazz, found out a little about which buses went where, had some good long chats with the girls, and am now absolutely convinced that I am doing the right thing.

I also had a delightful day attending the 20th Anniversary celebrations of Housing Options Scotland, so can now put faces to voices and email addresses. The whole event was marked by informal efficiency, which I have always felt is the hallmark of good organisation.

And so on we go, back here in the Welsh hills. A long standing friend of mine, from my days instructing for Outward Bound, is working on a project to put up a community shed where people can go and do what they do in sheds. The roof trusses are up, so I’m off for a visit.

HOS Xmas emag stories – in September Olivia goes to Orkney



I was invited by Orkney Housing Association Limited to give a short presentation at their Tenant Day. Tenants and housing professionals from Orkney, as well as some from further afield, attended to listen to a variety of interesting housing presentations, including one from Carbon Dynamic, a company who design and produce sustainable, custom, modular housing.


During my presentation I had the opportunity to explain to an audience of around 30 what we do here at Housing Options Scotland and the many ways that we help our clients. Not only was I able to bring HOS to the attention of those in the islands who could benefit from our help, but I was able to visit a beautiful part of Scotland that I had never been to before.

HOS Xmas emag stories – in August Susan meets the housing minister



This year our HOS in the Hills and by the Sea roadshow gave us the opportunity to promote our services to some of the harder to reach corners of Scotland.  I am so happy to have had the opportunity to attend the HOS in the Hills Ballater event.  It was such a beautiful drive up north through the Spittal of Glenshee and along the Old Military road and thanks to Pedro driving us up there I could relax and enjoy the beauty of the purple heather covering the mountains as far as the eye could see.  We were also joined by Janis our latest intern from the USA and Marian Deeny (civil servant for the Scottish Government).


We passed by so many small villages isolated by vast mountain ranges and such beautiful landscapes it was easy to understand why anyone would choose to l live in this beautiful area of Scotland, but it also made us think of many reasons why people would not choose to live in such isolation away from the hustle and bustle of city life.  We arrived safely in Ballater late afternoon and had time to settle down in our B&B and the opportunity to explore the town in the evening and of course meet our former colleague Ryan MacDonald.  Ryan is now one of our Board Members.


The next day we were up early and headed off to the Victoria Hall to set up our HOS event for that day.  Lucky for us we were joined by a host of other care and housing organisations who had all come along to promote their services and a great chance for us to meet up and discuss the challenges people face finding the Right House in the Right place.


We were also all excited as not only were we expecting a good volume of local visitors, but we had been informed that the Minister for Local Government and Housing, Kevin Stewart will make a surprise visit.   We had a busy morning and we all had a chance to meet and chat with people from the local community and beyond.


Just before noon the Housing Minister Keven Stewart arrived, we were all extremely excited as this was the first time he had attended a HOS event.  We all got a chance to meet the minster and inform him of our roles in HOS and he spent time chatting with us all.  It was a great opportunity for HOS to show what kind of service we offer and of course he stayed to hear our very own Fraser give a wonderful presentation about our services.  He also spent time listening and chatting to tenant’s, other attendees and organisations before he left for his next appointment.

Before we knew it, our roadshow at Ballater had come to and end and it was time to pack up and head back along the Old Military road for home.

Xmas emag stories – in Feb Pedro joins the team



I initially joined HOS after helping out at an event on Armed Forces Day 2016, and Moira graciously offered me some work helping out with further events. Then in February this year Moira offered me a full time job! I left my then dog walking business behind and haven’t looked back.


As Team Support Worker, I am the first point of contact for clients. I speak to people with all sorts of housing need and get a real sense of the value of what HOS does. HOS is the best organisation to work for – there is a real sense of camaraderie and I love finishing at the end of the day and feeling like I have made a difference. Not many people get to say that about their job!

Dogfish Dan’s Blog – Entry 22


Dogfish Dan is a HOS client who is hoping to move from Wales to Edinburgh to be near his two daughters and his grandchildren.  He’s keeping us up-to-date with his experiences via his blog…

Dogfish Dan’s Blog Entry 22 – written on Saturday 11th November

man-and-terriersRight, so the house owners are back, and it’s almost time for me to move on.

I’m staying here for another week, and then am visiting my daughters in Edinburgh for about 10 days. Whilst I’m there, I will actually get to meet some more Housing Options staff, instead of their being just telephone voices and email responders. On my return, I shall be moving into someone else’s house for the foreseeable future.

I have, however, just spotted a sheltered flat for sale which could suit me very well, so the girls are checking it out this weekend, and I could have some phone calls to make on Monday, depending on what they say. This could be quite exciting, but I hope I’m dealing a bit better with my emotions, having had a few ups and downs recently.

Two terriers arrived home, having been away for two months, causing Mr Hyde to immediately come out of hiding in my sweet little pussy cat friend. The first of it that I knew, was when I heard a terrified yelp from under the table. The nine month old pup, having initially been quite excited to be reacquainted with her friend was in rapid retreat, whilst Ella was giving her a series of lightening right hooks to her shiny black nose. Now, a few days later, a truce has been called, and I even spotted a very tentative nose to nose greeting yesterday. The cat has moved in on the dogs bed, and they have moved out, so a hierarchy has been established. Peace reigns…for now, at least.

And that’s it…a bit shorter than usual, but more sooooon.

New Self-Build loan fund 2018



The housing minister, Kevin Stewart, has confirmed a new £4m self-build loan fund will be made available in 2018 following a successful pilot of the scheme in the Highlands.


Details of the scheme are being released now to give time for potential applicants to investigate housing plots and necessary permissions in time to apply to the scheme in Autumn 2018.  The loan fund will be in place for 3 years.


In addition a challenge fund is now open to support projects that will help planning departments develop ways to better respond to the needs of people undertaking a custom or self-build home.


You can find out more about the new fund and pilot scheme here: £4m Self-build loan fund

Dogfish Dan’s Blog – Entry 21


Dogfish Dan is a HOS client who is hoping to move from Wales to Edinburgh to be near his two daughters and his grandchildren.  He’s keeping us up-to-date with his experiences via his blog…

Dogfish Dan’s Blog Entry 21 – written on Sunday 5th November

trick-or-treatThis last week has been a bit of a disaster. The same as the Gunpowder plot, really.

I had put a bid in for sheltered housing, only to discover towards the end of the week, that my bid hadn’t even been registered on the system for some reason. And even if it had been registered, the number of points that I have, meant that I didn’t have a chance in the bidding system anyway. At least, it’s one lesson learnt…the next time, I shall ring EdIndex, just to make sure that my bid has gone through.

So where do I go from here? I may be completely wrong, but it seems that the sheltered housing market, or the housing market generally in Edinburgh has changed completely since I entered it. There is now much more demand. So, with the number of points that I have, on rather don’t have, I shall have to look much more closely at the ‘owner occupied’ market, but still within sheltered or retirement housing, if possible. Having lived on my own for 20 years or so, and now with increasing health problems, I would feel much happier with other people around.

My main job tomorrow will therefore be to contact ESPC and various housing associations to see if they have flats for sale as well as to rent. I contacted a housing association at the end of the week, to be told that they had empty flats which were not being ‘actively marketed’ yet, but on contacting solicitors which should have known of this, was told that they had nothing on their books?? It’s going to be a busy week……

To really rub it in, one of my daughters has just bought herself a flat pretty speedily, and moved in today.

The lovely house owners came back for a couple of nights, went away again, and are back at the end of the week, so I shall have to move on.

Shelter Scotland Report – No DSS


Shelter Scotland have released a report ‘No DSS – A review of evidence on landlord and letting agent attitudes to tenants receiving Housing Benefit’.

The review was carried out by the Institute for Social Policy, Housing and Equalities Research at Heriot Watt University for Shelter Scotland.  It looks in more detail at landlords’ attitudes to letting to tenants on housing benefit and tenants’ experiences as well as examining in more detail how it may be possible to remove barriers to the private rented sector for this group.

To read the review follow this link – Shelter Scotland – No DSS

Age, Home & Community – The First Five Years


The Scottish Government have released a mid-point review of their 2011 Age, Home & Community strategy.

The review reports on progress made towards the original commitments in the first 5 years of the 10 year strategy, as well as highlighting some examples of exemplary practice that have developed in this time.

Follow this link to read the review in full – Age, Home & Community – The First Five Years

Dogfish Dan’s Blog – Entry 20


Dogfish Dan is a HOS client who is hoping to move from Wales to Edinburgh to be near his two daughters and his grandchildren.  He’s keeping us up-to-date with his experiences via his blog…

Dogfish Dan’s Blog Entry 20 – written on Friday 27th October

Pussy cat Ella is revealing an ever broadening vocabulary of sounds…

The most frequent is Hello, which is Prrriaw. This is a miaow which starts with a purr, and then becomes a miaow, with an upturn at the end. I generally get this in reply to my Hello to her, when I haven’t seen her for a while. Then there is of course the “Look what I’ve brought you, you’re going to love this”. This is a deep throated Iaowl with a quick octave drop in the middle. This comes when she trots in proudly from the cat flap, with a mouse, young rat, or garden bird for me. Actually I don’t get much of a look at them, before all that is left, is a little gall bladder or some wing feathers. Thank goodness she doesn’t play much at all with her captives.

At four in the morning I hear a sweet little Miaow as she makes herself sound as sweet and appealing as possible when she sneaks upstairs and finally lands on my bed with a thump. She politely usually waits for a responding grunt from me before she enters the bedroom. Her Purr is very quiet, and is virtually only to be heard when she is on my lap or paddling away at my chest, or rubbing herself against the book that I am having to hold at arm’s length, in order to be able to read without her turning over the pages for me with her nose.

The last sound that comes to mind for now (it’s well past midnight), is the conclusive Crrrunch that comes from under the bed, as her jaws close on a mouse’s skull and she starts on her early breakfast, as I seem to have no interest in it. Fortunately the mouse never gets as far as the bed.

entry-20Between the storms, Autumn colours are pretty good around here…

As for housing, I have put a bid in for somewhere yesterday. Hence my distraction technique of writing about the cat before going to bed!