Shona Robison MSP,
Cabinet Secretary for Social Justice, Housing and Local Government
Councillor Kelly Parry,
COSLA Spokesperson on Community Wellbeing
Ending homelessness is everyone's business.
We are proud of the progressive housing rights we have for people in Scotland experiencing homelessness. This is a foundation on which we can build further. This consultation on introducing prevention of homelessness duties is the next important step in our journey. The new prevention duties are designed to ensure that people get the help they need much sooner and will be the most significant change to Scotland's homelessness legislation since we changed the law to remove 'priority need' in 2012.
While the right to safe, affordable housing for those facing homelessness will continue to be central to our response, the experience of homelessness is often a traumatic and unsettling experience that can have a profound impact on the lives of those involved, including children. By intervening at an earlier stage, and encouraging services to work together to respond to people's needs, we can ensure fewer people and families are faced with having to re-build lives affected by homelessness.
Following a recommendation from the Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Action Group to create new duties to prevent homelessness, the Prevention Review Group was established. It provided a thoughtful and compelling set of proposals which have helped inform this consultation.
We must seize this chance so that every single case that can be prevented is prevented. This should reflect our no 'wrong door' approach to those facing homelessness so that the risk of homelessness is identified and acted on regardless of the service first approached. This is a historic opportunity to make sure that there are no missed chances and to ensure homelessness is prevented at a much earlier stage.
We know that there is already some very good work happening across the country to prevent homelessness, following the focus on housing options approaches in recent years. This is our opportunity to go much further and set a new standard in preventing homelessness.
We would like to encourage all those in the housing sector, wider public bodies and those with experience of homelessness to take part and help shape Scotland's future in preventing homelessness. We hope you will help us identify what will work best in preventing homelessness so that Scotland can continue to be a world leader in tackling and ultimately ending homelessness.