Scotland’s Ending Homelessness Together action plan recognises that collaboration is essential to designing and delivering effective services. Importantly, this includes collaboration with people who have lived experience of homelessness. Furthermore, we have heard from people with lived experience that being able to access housing quickly, with the right level of support and security, is fundamental to moving on from being homeless. It is important, therefore, that input from people with lived experience of homelessness is seen as an integral part of the partnership working undertaken by local authorities in the continuous development of their RRTP.
The review of RRTPs has shown that the pandemic has created obstacles for local authorities across the board, which includes the extent to which they were able to involve people with lived experience in the development and delivery of homelessness services. The extent to which lived experience is referenced in RRTPs varies.
Falkirk Council reported that it had developed an engagement plan to ensure lived experience continued to inform its service delivery during the pandemic. While face to face engagement has not been possible, Falkirk used a variety of other ways to promote participation, including online, postal, phone calls and its tenants’ magazine ‘Tenants Talk’. Falkirk also developed a homelessness consultation register with a view to further developing a homelessness network in the area. The register was used to consult on the main reason for temporary accommodation being refused, which helped the council to better meet the needs of its individual client groups. Falkirk has committed £20,000 in 2021/22 to link its prevention strategy with its consultation register and has committed to co-produce its prevention aspirations with those who have experience of relevant homelessness services.
During 2020/21, East Renfrewshire Council recruited a homelessness service design officer to primarily lead on the user led redesign of homelessness service. This has included coordinating a ‘corporate responsibility’ approach to homelessness prevention across the local authority and HSCP services, and developing and coordinating service user coproduction of service redesign. Each service user involved in the research received a £10 voucher for their participation from RRTP funding.
As part of Fife Council’s Homeless Prevention and Housing Options pathways, a Business Change Manager and two Housing Professionals have been appointed to develop and restructure Housing Access and Homelessness Prevention to a more streamlined person-centred service. Between August and October 2020, a ‘Homeless Sprint’ programme was undertaken by all Housing Access and Homelessness Officers to gain insight from applicants, partners and colleagues on better ways of working, gaps in service provision and a lived experience view.
East Lothian Council commissioned an external agency to survey service users in temporary accommodation to consider how services could be improved and agree a revised approach to service user engagement going forward, potentially linked to peer mentoring.
Glasgow’s Alliance to End Homelessness involves service users in the design and development of service provision which is central to the Alliance’s activity and governance structures. GCHSCP funds Homeless Network Scotland to support people with lived experience to be fully involved in the work of the Alliance.
South Lanarkshire Council’s Homelessness Team is liaising with Homeless Network Scotland on the development of a training course for service users with a lived experience of homelessness to train as peer support workers, to be developed further in 2021/22.
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