Annex 2: Women and Homelessness
As highlighted previously, we have committed to ensure the actions we take to end homelessness are informed by a gendered analysis and will meet the specific needs of women experiencing homelessness.
This commitment was made following engagement with a range of stakeholders and we have developed a programme of work to integrate a gendered approach to delivery of homelessness policy and practice, as summarised below and noted throughout the document.
Key to embedding a person-centred approach will be our work to developing better understanding of women’s experiences of homelessness. We have already conducted a brief evidence review and further evidence was presented at our Gender and Homelessness workshop in August 2019. We will work with partners with expertise in gender as well as partners in the homelessness sector to deepen our understanding of the issues facing women in homelessness through 2020.
Recognising that domestic abuse is a major reason for women experiencing homelessness, we are taking forward work to improve housing outcomes for women and children experiencing domestic abuse and first meeting of the working group leading on this will be held early in 2020.
We know issues around access to resources, including social security entitlements, particularly impact on women. We will work with colleagues in housing, homelessness, child poverty, social security and employability to progress a Scottish Government wide approach to this issue, including around splitting Universal Credit payments for couples and ensuring direct rent payment to landlords remain as option.
Development towards a homelessness prevention duty is a key pillar of our transformative approach. The Prevention Duty Review Group will be informed by understanding of the particular issues faced by women, and their recommendations will be informed by gender-specific experiences of homelessness. The evidence which feeds into the review group’s discussion will include gendered analyses.
In response to understanding that women do not have equal access to statutory services, we will also use the next phase of RRTP development to proactively work with local authorities. We will encourage them to take a gendered approach to their homelessness plans and respond to the needs of women in homelessness in their local area in accordance with their findings.
We know relationships formed at the frontline are key and the frontline needs support and training to particularly reflect the needs of women. We will work with stakeholders to ensure the training and support being developed as part of our programme to support and empower frontline services is gender sensitive. We will also support the Housing First Training Academy, which is supporting the Housing First Pathfinder, programme to include training on gender inequality. We will ensure this training is made more widely available as Housing First develops throughout all areas of Scotland.