170. The final question in the consultation asked,
Q10: In relation to local connection and intentionality provisions in homelessness legislation, please outline any other comments you wish to make, including whether you think there may be unintended consequences (you have not mentioned elsewhere) related to commencing these provisions.
171. Thirty-six respondents took the opportunity to provide additional commentary, although most of these echoed points made at earlier questions.
172. The key theme, albeit only mentioned by a small number of respondents, was support for the HARSAG recommendations and / or the Scottish Government's commitment to this legislation to improve the rights of people experiencing homelessness. There was general agreement of the need to expand and extend the scope for promoting a person-centred, partnership approach to the assessment of housing and support needs. That said, a very small number of respondents felt that it is not yet clear that these changes are needed.
173. Issues that have been noted earlier in this report included concerns over:
- Additional pressures on local authorities, with some reference to disproportionate impacts on some local authorities, such as Edinburgh or the islands.
- A need for greater co-operation across partners and increased levels of partnership working. Aside from health and social care partnerships, local authorities and service providers, respondents also referred to the Police and those with lived experience of homelessness. There were a very small number of suggestions that there needs to be more partnership working with the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) with a suggestion that rent should be paid directly to landlords to help avoid rent arrears and unsustained tenancies.
- Greater workload pressures on local authority and service providers.
- Capacity and resource constraints in terms of service provision, with requests for ring-fenced funding or greater investment in homelessness service provision.
- A lack of accommodation, both temporary and permanent, with one suggestion of a need to ensure different types of housing is available to meet all needs. There was also a suggestion of a need for additional funding for the Social Rented Sector to increase its housing stock and improve its existing housing stock.
- A need for monitoring and review of the impact of these changes.
- A need to update the Code of Guidance to reflect changes.
- A need to provide more advice, signposting and assistance to those in need.
- Changes to HL1 data collection.
- A need to ensure that any changes chime with other areas such as the wider welfare reform agenda, housing and health and social care. This would help to avoid any conflict with other legislation.