Ending homelessness together: annual report 2022

This annual report sets out the progress made in the last 12 months by national government, local government and third sector partners towards ending homelessness in Scotland.

Progress against actions to join up planning and resources to tackle homelessness

Scotland’s National Performance Framework is our vision for the nation we want to be and this drives our mission to end child poverty and homelessness. We said we would ensure the next National Performance Framework review includes explicit consideration of homelessness.

The current national outcomes were published in 2018. The Scottish Government is legislatively required to review them every five years and so they will be reviewed during 2022-23.

The Scottish Parliament’s Finance and Public Administration Committee has also been looking at how the national outcomes shape Scottish Government policy aims and spending decisions, and how this drives delivery at national and local level.

  • We will ensure that the upcoming review of national outcomes in the National Performance Framework includes consideration of homelessness.

We said we would improve how we use Public Health Scotland data and intelligence capabilities.

Scottish Government, COSLA and Public Health Scotland officials meet regularly to reinforce the links between health and homelessness and improve joint approaches to homelessness prevention.

  • A task and finish group of the Homelessness Prevention and Strategy Group, set up in June 2022, has been considering how we can reduce the numbers of households, especially those with children, staying long periods in temporary accommodation. Public Health Scotland is contributing to the work of this group, including by reviewing the evidence on the impact of temporary accommodation on children.
  • Public Health Scotland is working with Healthcare Improvement Scotland to link homelessness application data to health and social care data. Work will begin with a small number of pathfinder areas but the aim is to make this data available to all local areas to inform where best to target resource and support for people experiencing multiple and complex needs. The collaborative element of this work is a legacy of the Reducing Harm, Improving Care project.

We continue to improve drug and alcohol treatment and harm reduction services.

  • An update on the National Mission to reduce drug deaths and improve the lives of those impacted by drugs, National Drugs Mission Plan: 2022-2026, was published in August 2022.
  • The Scottish Government aims to increase the number of statutory funded placements by 300 per cent over this parliamentary term so that in 2026 at least 1,000 people are publicly funded for their placement.
  • We have responded to calls for more transparency and accountability by working with Public Health Scotland to track the number of residential rehabilitation placements that have been funded by alcohol and drug partnerships.
  • The most recent interim report from Public Health Scotland, published on 27 September 2022, found that 218 statutory funded residential rehabilitation placements had been approved across Scotland between April and June 2022, an increase of 85 from the previous quarter.
  • The figures are a substantial increase on estimates from previous years, meaning more people with problem drug and alcohol use are accessing residential treatment and support to aid their recovery. While the statistics indicate progress, we recognise that more can be done to get people into appropriate treatment quicker to reduce harms and help with recovery.
  • We continue to expand the naloxone programme so that naloxone can be routinely used in response to potential overdose. This includes ensuring that emergency responders and members of the public have easy access to this life saving medication and increasing awareness of the signs of drug overdose through the public health campaign on how to save a life, which encourages the public to access a free naloxone kit and training.
  • We continue to implement the medication assisted treatment (MAT) standards, which define what is needed for the consistent delivery of safe and accessible drug treatment and support in Scotland.

We said we would embed homelessness as a public health priority. Special measures put in place to protect people experiencing homelessness during the pandemic have been effective and show what public health measures and collaborations can achieve. Given the known risks of homelessness, rough sleeping and destitution to physical and mental health and wellbeing, we and our partners want to see this support continue as we recover from the pandemic.

  • We continue to develop a public health approach to homelessness prevention, which means focusing on the root causes of homelessness and using evidence and data to inform policy.

We said we would improve the join up between health, social care, housing and homelessness planning.

The Scottish Government has committed to establishing a National Care Service by the end of this parliamentary term to improve the quality of social work and social care services in Scotland.

  • The Scottish Government consulted on the plans for a National Care Service between 9 August and 2 November 2021. The National Care Service (Scotland) Bill was introduced to Parliament on 20 June 2022.

It is not proposed that the housing or homelessness functions of local authorities should transfer to the National Care Service (NCS). However, social care support services will need to work effectively alongside other services. The Scottish Government envisages that a fully integrated NCS would work closely with other services, such as housing, homelessness, education, the justice system and the Scottish Prison Service to ensure everyone has seamless access to the support they need.

We said we would ensure local authorities, housing providers and public bodies join up to prevent homelessness.

Our new homelessness prevention legislation is designed to radically improve the way local authorities, housing providers and public bodies join up to prevent homelessness. The legislation will include new duties on wider public bodies – such as health and social care services, children’s services, police and prisons – and on social and private landlords to act in a timely way to prevent homelessness.

  • The Scottish Government and COSLA consulted on plans for new homelessness prevention duties between December 2021 and April 2022. As well as inviting responses to a formal consultation paper, the Scottish Government organised a series of consultation events about the proposals related to public bodies. This included engagement with justice and health representatives.

The findings of the Hard Edges Scotlanda report continue to inform how the Scottish Government responds to the multiplicity of disadvantage that individuals and families can face in Scotland.

The Hard Edges report showed us the scale and overlapping nature of disadvantage in Scotland. It also highlighted that services and sectors often operate in silos while interacting with the same people, making services difficult to access and navigate. Our aspiration, as set out earlier in this report, is to adopt a ‘no wrong door’ approach and make sure there is a consistent and personalised offer when people reach out for services.

  • Scottish charity Homeless Network Scotland has proposed implementing a no wrong door ‘test of change’ across the social care, housing and homelessness, health and community justice sectors. This would address siloed working practices by putting coordinated care systems in place at a local level for people experiencing homelessness, and particularly for those with multiple and complex needs. While the proposal is still at the scoping stage, Scottish Government officials from the homelessness unit have facilitated early cross-government conversations to allow Homeless Network Scotland to present its proposal.

We said we would update the code of guidance on homelessness and review the need for a code of practice in the code of guidance on homelessness.

There has been no update to the code of guidance on homelessness since the interim update in November 2019. This work has been paused to allow us to focus on more urgent tasks and so we can incorporate key legislative changes as part of the update. We remain committed to reviewing the code once the homelessness prevention duties have been laid, and we will review the need for a code of practice addendum to the code of guidance in future.

We said we would join up housing, employment and employability support.

The Scottish Government helps those facing significant barriers into fair and sustainable work through its first iteration of devolved employment provision, Fair Start Scotland. The service offers one-to-one support, tailored to individual circumstances. Pre-employment support can last up to 18 months depending on the needs of the individual and up to 12 months in-work support is available to ensure participants remain supported during employment.

No One Left Behind sets out Scotland’s collective approach to delivering an all age employability system which is flexible, joined up and responsive.

  • We will continue to work at local and national level to improve the connectivity between employability services and other provision such as health, housing and justice through the adoption of a whole person/whole systems approach.
  • The Scottish Government’s Housing First monitoring report developed to capture Housing First activity across Scotland also records positive outcomes as a result of Housing First tenancies, including training and employment.


Email: Homelessness_External_Mail@gov.scot

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