A range of informed stakeholders took part in the consultation. They appeared to be highly-engaged and knowledgeable about relevant matters, including planning and delivering housing services, supporting homeless households or representing the experiences of groups who have accessed temporary accommodation. Many people also shared rich insights into their experiences with temporary accommodation, through material submitted in an alternative format via an organisation. Together, these responses provided a useful evidence base for the Scottish Government to draw upon in the development of new approaches.
The Scottish Government's key proposals were endorsed in principle. Most respondents supported an extension of the seven-day limit for use of unsuitable temporary accommodation to all homeless people. They also agreed the Scottish Government should create standards for temporary accommodation based on the guidance published by the Chartered Institute of Housing Scotland and Shelter Scotland. However, views on approaches to implementing these changes, and the likely impact of the proposals, differed.
Themes across responses included numerous examples of poor experiences with temporary accommodation, which reinforced the case for change. Many expressed awareness that some local authorities may struggle to manage transitions in the short term. There were numerous reflections on the changing context for housing services, including drivers for demand and supply, and emerging approaches to delivering effective housing provision and associated support.
Across their comments many housing providers voiced concern about the cost, rate and extent of imminent and actual transformation underway. These included fears that the proposed changes may absorb resources, detracting from a local authority's capacity to achieve the longer-term Rapid Rehousing Transition Plans (RRTP) they are already committed to.
Some divergent views were also evident, reflecting varied perspectives among stakeholders. These include:
- Calls from some respondents for changes to be implemented as soon as possible, while others urged for a longer time frame for implementation.
- Views that a national, consistent approach is required, versus comments on the value of flexible approaches to improvements.
- For a focus on the needs of specific groups, for example care leavers, with calls for these to be prioritised; others favoured a uniform approach to the implementation of change.
- Different views on the likely impact of changes. While many of the responses to this question focused on positive impacts, some unwelcome consequences for the permanent housing sector were described.
At a broader level, it was suggested that the changes will reinforce a rights-based approach to housing provision. There were also calls from a small number of respondents for the Scottish Government to support these proposals by moving towards a holistic approach that addresses the root causes of homelessness.