Ending homelessness together: updated action plan - October 2020

Updated Ending Homelessness Together action plan, outlining how national government, local government and third sector partners will work together on our shared ambition to end homelessness. It has been revised to reflect actions needed in response to the global coronavirus pandemic.


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

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

Councillor Elena Whitham, COSLA Spokesperson for Community Wellbeing

Councillor Elena Whitham, COSLA Spokesperson for Community Wellbeing

Everyone should have a home that meets their needs. 

The shared ambition of national and local government to end homelessness has not changed during the COVID-19 pandemic but our determination has increased. 

We want to see an equitable recovery, where people affected by homelessness have access to the housing and support they need and are treated with dignity and respect.

The pandemic has changed our way of life. The public health emergency has rapidly turned into an global economic crisis and those with the fewest social and financial resources have often been the hardest hit. 

At the same time, we have seen what is possible when we respond collectively and urgently with an inclusive and human rights-based approach to tackling homelessness. The willingness of all parties to come together quickly to move hundreds of people from the streets, night shelters, bed and breakfasts and hostels into a place of safety has strengthened our partnerships and our resolve. It has shown us new paths to end homelessness in Scotland.

This year, we have all seen just how important it is to have a home that is warm, safe and affordable. We have seen the value of family, friends and community. Our aim now is to draw on what we have learned, retain our collective strength and secure our goal of eradicating rough sleeping and ending homelessness in Scotland. 

The emergency accommodation arrangements were always a temporary measure, not a sustainable solution. The next stage of this work is to ensure everyone is supported out of these arrangements and into settled homes. We know this will take sustained effort from all partners and that people need to be at the heart of that process. Both the Scottish Government and local government are committed to driving this forward.

We believe that no-one should return to unsuitable temporary accommodation, night shelters or rough sleeping, or see the medical or social care they have accessed during this period withdrawn once the crisis ends. Our vision is for a future where there is no need for night shelters; where people are not left destitute by design; where people can move into their own home as soon as possible; and where all parts of the system respond to someone’s experience or risk of homelessness in a way that advances equality.

Preventing homelessness is about more than finding somewhere else to live. National and local government will continue to work in partnership with the third sector and other public bodies in their approach to homelessness prevention. This means targeting support to people at risk of homelessness much sooner. It means considering people’s circumstances in the widest sense, including their wellbeing, health and social care, employment and welfare needs. It means having local approaches to suit local circumstances.

We sought guidance on how to deliver lasting change from the expert members of the Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Action Group. The group was asked to undertake a rapid review of our existing plans and provide recommendations on post-pandemic recovery. It delivered a set of thoughtful proposals in July 2020. This updated action plan takes full account of the group’s new recommendations while continuing to build on the recommendations the group set out in 2018.

In line with the Ending Homelessness Together principles and the Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Action Group’s original work, our updated action plan is informed by people who have experience of homelessness and rough sleeping and by the insights of those who work in homelessness services. We are pleased that the report includes the voices of people who have been homeless. They are most directly impacted by the proposals in this document and they will continue to guide us on what works. The input from people with lived experience also helps to counter myths and misunderstandings about homelessness. To end homelessness, it is important that we remove stigma and build understanding. 

Homelessness has a devastating impact on individuals and it is bad for society, but it is not inevitable. We know that the best solution to homelessness is to stop it happening in the first place. The pandemic has shown us that by pulling together we can bring about remarkable change. We are on the right path with our plan to tackle homelessness but we must keep going to achieve our shared ambition. 

Together we can end homelessness in Scotland.

Homelessness vision:

Everyone has a home that meets their needs

Homelessness is ended

National Performance Framework: Our Values

‘We are a society which treats all our people with kindness, dignity and compassion…’

Infographic of our vision for ending homelessness by everyone having a home that meets their needs

Chart Description

Embed a person-centred approach

My support is flexible and builds on my strengths and successes

I always have choice and control

I am listened to, valued and treated with dignity and respect

Prevent homelessness from happening in the first place

I can find support quickly if i need it, before reaching crisis point

I am helped to keep my home, which helps me focus on other goals

My housing options are considered when my other circumstances change

Join up planning and resources to tackle homelessness

I know where to get help

I expect services to work together, in partnership with me

I trust that the right people are informed about my needs and experiences

Respond quickly and effectively whenever homelessness happens

I expect my housing crisis to be responded to with urgency

The help i get is right for me, and reduces the risk of homelessness happening again

Prioritise settled homes for all

I can exercise my right to access and maintain a safe and secure home

I build and maintain positive relationships and am part of the community


Email: Homelessness_External_Mail@gov.scot

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