Publication - Strategy/plan

Ending homelessness and rough sleeping: action plan

Published: 27 Nov 2018
Directorate:
Housing and Social Justice Directorate
Part of:
Housing
ISBN:
9781787813908

Sets out how national and local government and the third sector will work together.

45 page PDF

2.9 MB

45 page PDF

2.9 MB

Contents
Ending homelessness and rough sleeping: action plan
Introduction to this Action Plan

45 page PDF

2.9 MB

Introduction to this Action Plan

Having somewhere to call home is a basic human right[1] and housing is one of the most important factors in any person’s quality of life. We need to have a wide range of measures in place that help prevent homelessness in the first place and ensure that when it does happen, the needs of people experiencing homelessness are addressed as quickly as possible.

Kevin Stewart MSP, Minister for Local Government, Housing and Planning

Kevin Stewart MSP
Minister for Local Government, Housing & Planning

Cllr Elena Whitham, COSLA Spokesperson for Community Wellbeing

Cllr Elena Whitham
COSLA Spokesperson for Community Wellbeing

Homelessness has a strong legislative footing in Scotland. Under the Housing (Scotland) Act 1987 a person should be treated as homeless, even if they have accommodation, if it would not be reasonable for them to continue to stay in it.

That means that if we are to complete our ambition to end homelessness then no one would sleep rough and no one should live somewhere that is unsuitable for them. Temporary accommodation can provide an important safety net but we need to ensure that it is of a high quality, and that stays there are as short as possible with the homeless household fully supported, and with a clear plan in place, to enable them to move into mainstream housing.

Changes in applications and assessments can be driven by changes in legislation, policy and practice as shown by the significant shifts in advance of the abolition of priority need in 2012, as set out in the chart [Chart 1][2] below. This also shows that the number of homelessness applications has decreased in more recent years from 2008-09 to 2016-17, due in part to the impact of the introduction of Housing Options services in Scottish local authorities, with its focus on prevention.

Chart 1: Scotland: Number of applications and assessments under the homelessness legislation

Chart 1: Scotland: Number of applications and assessments under the homelessness legislation

In the past year we have seen partners come together, bringing insight, creativity and a dogged determination to build on this success and go further: to end rough sleeping, transform the use of temporary accommodation and ultimately end homelessness.

We are grateful to the Local Government and Communities Committee of the Scottish Parliament who undertook an extensive and wide-ranging inquiry into homelessness which culminated in a substantive and useful report that was published in February 2018. The report highlighted the challenges we face and set out the action needed across national and local government in conjunction with other partners, to end homelessness.

The work of the Committee both complemented and informed the work of the Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Action Group which set out in October 2017 to answer four questions.

1. What can be done to reduce rough sleeping this winter? (2017‑18)

2. How can we end rough sleeping?

3. How can we transform the use of temporary accommodation?

4. What needs to be done to end homelessness?

Over the following nine months, the Action Group diligently and resolutely strived to develop recommendations that would help answer these fundamental questions. The Action Group’s recommendations were firmly rooted in the views of people with experience of homelessness. The Aye We Can report prioritised the views of people with lived experience and ensured that the Action Group’s recommendations were based directly on people’s experiences and priorities.

In June 2018, the Action Group published the last of their four reports which culminated in a comprehensive set of recommendations aiming to secure strategic changes at both the national and local level which would help support delivery on the front-line.

The collaborative and inclusive nature of the work of the Action Group is something we will ensure continues going forward. We jointly chair the Homelessness Prevention and Strategy Group who have guided the process of turning the recommendations of the Action Group and Local Government and Communities Committee into this Action Plan.

And as co-chairs of the Strategy Group we will oversee the delivery of this Plan which is our collective commitment for a joint programme of systematic change.

Our ambition is high and our determination to achieve is resolute. We can and will end homelessness together.

Kevin Stewart MSP
Minister for Local Government, Housing & Planning

Cllr Elena Whitham
COSLA Spokesperson for Community Wellbeing


Contact

Email: Ruth Whatling