- 7 Nov 2018
The Scottish Government wants everyone to have a safe, settled home and has made preventing, tackling and ending homelessness Programme for Government priorities.
We are working in partnership with housing providers, third sector, health boards and others to transform the homelessness system, so that people who are homeless secure a permanent home, with appropriate support if they need this, far more quickly.
This responds to 70 recommendations by an expert group set up by the Scottish Government – the Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Action Group – and a report on homelessness by the Scottish Parliament’s Local Government and Communities Committee.
This year we have:
- Accepted in principle, the 70 recommendations from the Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Action Group which recognised that many people that become homeless or end up rough sleeping have complex needs that require specialist support as well as a house.
- Announced a £50 million Ending Homelessness Together Fund, over five years from 2018- 19, to support local authorities and others to ensure homelessness services are more responsive, of a high standard and focused on prevention.
- Allocated £23.5 million from the Ending Homelessness Together Fund and from the health portfolio for rapid rehousing and Housing First so that local authorities and partners can support people at risk of sleeping rough and those living in temporary accommodation into settled accommodation first; and then help with any longer-term needs. Up to £6.5 million of this allocation is supporting our partnership with Social Bite who are working with the Corra Foundation, Glasgow Homelessness Network and local partners to deliver Housing First pathfinders in five Scottish cities.
- Asked all local authorities to work collaboratively with health, social care housing providers and the third sector on Rapid Rehousing Transition Plans and for these plans to ensure that frontline workers are able to provide the right help at the right time for homeless households.
- Provided, with £548,000 to support local authorities and third sector to deliver last year’s Winter Initiative. This kept people at risk of sleeping rough safe and warm during extreme weather conditions and highlighted the importance of frontline workers having the resources to provide direct help to people and strong partnership working between organisations and services. This initiative is informing plans for this winter and beyond.
- Commissioned an options appraisal for a new national rough sleeping data collection so that front line workers have accurate information about rough sleepers locally and are able to help people quickly.
The Homelessness Prevention and Strategy Group is leading the work to tackle homelessness and we will publish an Ending Homelessness Together Action Plan before the end of 2018. This will set out a five-year programme, in partnership with local authorities and others, to transform temporary accommodation and end homelessness. This will include:
- Evaluation of Rapid Rehousing Transition Plans to enable local authorities to finalise their individual plans in spring 2019 and transition to a system of ensuring homeless households are able to secure appropriate settled accommodation.
- The roll-out of Housing First nationally and opportunities to share learning and evidence about its impact from the pathfinder projects in Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Stirling.
- A new national model for frontline support for people vulnerable to rough sleeping, both for winter and all year round.
- Refreshed statutory guidance to help local authorities meet their homelessness duties.
- An analysis of information gathered from local authorities on the funding of temporary accommodation to inform decisions on future funding systems.
- Co-production work with people with lived experience, frontline workers and others as we take forward Ending Homelessness Together plans.
- The timetable for consulting and enacting legislative change required to support the changes needed.
The Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Action Group, created in October 2017, completed its work in June 2018, making 70 recommendations on how to eradicate rough sleeping, transform temporary accommodation and end homelessness for good.
Our Ending Homelessness Together Action Plan is led and overseen by the Homelessness Prevention and Strategy Group, chaired jointly by the Housing Minister, Kevin Stewart and COSLA’s spokesperson for Community Wellbeing, Councillor Elena Whitham.
Scotland already has some of the strongest rights for homeless people in the world and everybody found to be homeless is legally entitled to housing. Most people are provided with settled, permanent accommodation.
In 2017, we legislated to reduce the time that families and pregnant women stay in unsuitable temporary accommodation from 14 to 7 days and will explore how to extend this to all homeless households, as part of our work to transform the temporary accommodation system.
We have funded five regionally grouped Housing Options Hubs since 2010 which bring neighbouring councils together to develop and share best practice information on homelessness prevention.
Our focus on prevention has contributed towards a significant fall in homeless applications since 2008 with a 39% reduction from 57,672 in 2008-09 to 34,972 in 2017-18. A 1% rise in applications in 2017-18 follows an eight-year decline and a 9% rise in children in temporary accommodation is extremely disappointing and a reminder of why tackling homelessness across the system must be a national priority.