Employability And Housing
Scotland has some of the strongest rights for homeless people in the world and we want to ensure that people access those rights. We have committed to renewing and redoubling our efforts to prevent and reduce homelessness. Along with the establishment of a short term Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Action Group, we are continuing to work with Regional Local Authority led Housing Options Hubs (which all 32 local authorities participate in) which have been developing person centred housing options focused approaches to homelessness prevention, of which employability is a key feature.
For the twelve month period of 1 April 2016 to 31 March 2017, 34,100 homeless applications were made in Scotland. Lack of work is both a cause and consequence of homelessness and people experiencing homelessness face additional barriers to employment than those with a stable home. In addition to the practical difficulties in engaging in employability activities while in unstable accommodation, homelessness can be a traumatic and distressing experience. This can lead to barriers to employment such as people lacking the skills and self-confidence to find and keep a job.
Having the right skills and self-confidence can help a person who is homeless to prepare for, find, and sustain a job. A secure financial basis through employment can in turn support a secure and stable home, and having a secure and stable home can help a person sustain their employment.
In Autumn 2018, with Scottish Government support, a Housing Options Toolkit developed by local authorities will be launched for local authority and registered social landlord frontline staff involved in the management and delivery of housing options, which will help signpost more people to the most appropriate local and national employability services.
A Housing Options Training Toolkit will be produced in 2018 and we will support the development of a module on Employment Training & Volunteering. This module will be designed for local authority and registered social landlord frontline staff in the management and delivery of housing options to provide them with information on the links between employment and housing sustainment. The toolkit will contain information that will help frontline staff to signpost people to local and national employability support.
In 2018/19, the Scottish Government will work collaboratively with a National Policy and Practice Coordinator at Homeless Action Scotland to develop a plan to raise awareness of employability within homeless organisations across Scotland so they are better equipped to improve employment outcomes for people who are experiencing homelessness.
We recognise that people with experience of homelessness may have a number of different types of barriers that compound the difficulties for them to find and sustain work. The Scottish Government funds a National Employability Coordinator based at Homeless Action Scotland, who has been working to raise awareness of the links between homelessness and employability and promoting mechanisms which support employability among those with experience of homelessness.
We will work with the National Employability Co-ordinator to increase the focus of employability within homeless organisations across Scotland. With these homeless organisations, we will identify areas of best practice and encourage replication in other areas. We will also identify referral routes for homeless organisations to direct people to local and national employability support. This activity complements the focus of the Scottish Government and its partners on preventing homelessness before it occurs.