Taking a truly person-centred approach
Housing is of central importance to preventing, tackling and ending homelessness – but we know that housing alone is not enough to avoid homelessness. That is why it is of central importance to any plan to end homelessness that all partners are taking a wide range of actions to tackle poverty, address exclusion and inequality and meet wider support needs. A cohesive, whole system response is vital if we are to prevent homelessness – and respond well when it happens. Many of the actions needed are described in the Ending Homelessness Together Action Plan but links to child poverty, employability, the Scottish Government’s Fairer Scotland work as well as the new social security service are vital too.
The Hard Edges Scotland report, commissioned by Lankelly Chase and The Robertson Trust and authored by Heriot-Watt University was published in 2019. It revealed the extent of severe and multiple disadvantage in Scotland and we have already started working across Government and with stakeholders to identify how we can be better joined-up in responding to these findings. We will continue to work in partnership across housing, health, justice and other areas to help improve outcomes for those with more complex needs, for whom homelessness may be only one of the challenges they face.
Together the actions deliver a concerted approach towards ending homelessness through a person-centred approach that focuses on prevention. Alongside joined-up planning, quick and effective response and a strong focus on settled housing for all as the basis on which we would all wish to build our life.
It is clear that effective joint working at all levels will be necessary to develop a co-ordinated web of support with the individual’s needs at the centre, as illustrated below. Taken together and by working in real partnership across traditional silos the work we are taking forward will move towards a Fairer Scotland and transform the experience of homelessness and help us achieve our vision (Annex 3).
The Importance of Lived Experience
People with lived experience of homelessness and rough sleeping had a central voice in the development of the Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Action Group recommendations and their views and input followed through into our Action Plan.
In moving to deliver our Action Plan it was vital to ensure that our work continue to be informed effectively and meaningfully by people who have experience of homelessness. The insights and expertise of those who work in homelessness services are also crucial to us getting delivery right.
We are committed to ensuring that people with lived experience and those working on the frontline are able to shape the implementation of the Ending Homelessness Together High Level Action Plan and support its delivery locally. As a result, we have provided funding to Homeless Network Scotland and Cyrenians to develop a Participation Programme, where frontline workers and people with lived experience of homelessness will assist the Homelessness Prevention and Strategy Group in steering the programme of transformational change at a national and local level.
As a first and important step, a Change Team has been recruited that will form a new sub-group of the Homelessness Prevention and Strategy Group. It will provide the vehicle for ‘planning and policy’ to plug into ‘practice, place and lived experience’ in a connected, informed but informal way. Membership of the Change Team is comprised of members with lived experience and those working on the frontline as well as colleagues from academia.
"It’s a relief that Scotland is now charting this new course to confront and end homelessness. The action plan is a demanding one, but also the right one with all the makings to deliver on its objective - if we stay the course.
So it has been inspiring with this first annual report to reflect on the range of actions delivered on so many fronts. And encouraging to review what’s next, keeping the momentum building until everyone has a safe, warm place to call home.
Homeless Network Scotland"
Structure of report
The next chapter in this report provides a summary of key homelessness statistics, building on the data presented in the Action Plan and highlighting findings from the recently published equalities breakdowns (November 2019).
This is followed by an overview of our progress towards delivering the commitments we made in the Action Plan under each of the Outcomes:
- Embed a person-centred approach
- Prevent homelessness from happening in the first place
- Prioritise settled homes for all
- Respond quickly and effectively whenever homelessness happens
- Join up planning and resources to tackle homelessness
We also highlight throughout the report (in text boxes) additional work we have taken forward which we had not previously set out in the Action Plan. This covers:
- Women in homelessness
- Improving outcomes for women experiencing domestic abuse
- Working with local authorities and others on effective implementation
- Glasgow voluntary review
- Hard Edges
- SHORE implementation review
- Third Sector Bid Fund
- Homelessness Prevention Fund