£21 million for rapid rehousing and Housing First.
People who are living in temporary accommodation or at risk of homelessness are to be supported quickly into permanent homes through new investment of up to £21 million.
Homelessness organisations and local authorities will use the funding, which is part of the £50 million Ending Homelessness Together Fund along with a health funding contribution of £1.5 million over the first two years, to develop their transition to a Housing First and rapid rehousing approach. Housing First provides permanent housing as a first, rather than last, response for people with complex needs.
The move coincides with the latest round of recommendations from the Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Action Group, which have been accepted in principle by the Scottish Government.
Announcing the funding during a visit to Edinburgh City Council’s homelessness service staff, Housing Minister Kevin Stewart said:
“I would like to thank the Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Action Group for their hard work and dedication over the past nine months. We know that homelessness is not solely a housing issue and we are committed to tackling the wider risk factors of homelessness and rough sleeping, including poverty and the increased risk of homelessness due to UK Government welfare cuts.
“Our significant £21 million investment will include up to £4 million to support local authorities in the five cities participating in the joint Social Bite and Corra Housing First initiative.
“This funding will ensure we support people at times of crisis, while also taking an important step towards transforming the system and offering rapid routes back to settled housing.
“Our focus on prevention has contributed toward a 39% fall in homelessness applications in the last ten years. We want to build on these strengths and accelerate progress.”
Jon Sparkes, Chair of the Homelessness & Rough Sleeping Action Group and Chief Executive of national homelessness charity Crisis, said:
“Everybody in Scotland deserves the dignity and stability of a safe and stable place to live, so we are very pleased the Scottish Government has accepted our recommendations to tackle homelessness across the country.
“Right now far too many people are either at risk of becoming homeless, or are already stuck in temporary accommodation or sleeping on the streets. When we know what it takes to end homelessness, this just isn’t right.
“We welcome the government’s pledge of vital funds to house people more quickly, and to provide the crucial support they need to leave homelessness behind for good. In addition, we have called for public bodies – such as hospitals, prisons, and social care services – to play a role in preventing homelessness, and for the government, local authorities and social landlords to build the social housing we need to truly meet demand.
“Now is the time for action, and we look forward to working closely with the Scottish government to make these plans a reality so that ultimately, homelessness in Scotland can be ended once and for all.”
The allocation of £21 million funding to support a transition to rapid rehousing and Housing First comes alongside the publication of the final recommendations of the Scottish Government’s Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Action Group. Of this, up to £4 million will be available to support local authorities in the five cities participating in the joint Social Bite and Corra Housing First initiative. The health funding contribution of £1.5 million comes from the additional £20 million investment made this year for addiction services.
The group was established in September 2017 to set out actions to tackle and prevent homelessness. The Group made recommendations for changes to the homelessness system including transition to rapid rehousing and Housing First as well as increased focus on support for people and on homelessness prevention.
Housing First provides ordinary, permanent housing as a first, rather than last, response for people with complex needs. It recognises a safe and secure home as the best base for recovery.