- 17 Sep 2021
Attendees and apologies
- John Mills, ALACHO (Chair)
- David Kemp, East Hub Rep
- Eileen McMullan, SFHA
- David Kemp, East Hub Rep
- Martin Smith, Tayside Fife and Central Hub Rep
- Iver Forsyth, North Hub Rep
- Anne Malarkey, HSCP
- Andrea Elliot, South West Hub Rep
- Martin Smith, Tayside, Fife & Central Hub Rep
- Ewan Aitken, Cyrenians
- Tim Pogson, Scotland’s Housing Network
- Jacqueline Fernie, West Hub Rep
- Yvette Burgess, Housing Support Enabling Unit
- Marion Gibbs, Scottish Government
- Kevin Wilkie, Scottish Government
- Matt Howarth, Scottish Government
- John Sharkey, Scottish Government (minutes)
- Janine Kellet, Scottish Government
Items and actions
1. ntroductions, Minute and Actions
John welcomed Iver Forsyth, North Hub rep, Anne Malarkey, Inverclyde Council and HSCP representative and Eileen McMullan from SFHA to the meeting.
Apologies from Maggie Brunjes, Laura Caven, Ruth Robin and Allan Jones.
Minutes of the 16 February meeting were cleared.
Kevin confirmed there were no actions outstanding.
2. RRTP Sub Group Terms of Reference
John pointed out that as we enter a new parliamentary term the decision was taken to look at the membership of HPSG at their next meeting, therefore this is an opportune time to review the Terms of Reference for this group.
Yvette would like to see reference to promoting access to housing support and mainstream health and social care services people going through ‘rapid rehousing’ but who are not accessing Housing First.
Ewan raised the point around those who have been ‘rapidly rehoused’ but not into what will be their long term solution due to a lack of affordable options in the area.
Janine spoke about this group’s relationship with HPSG and how best it can feedback positive stories and learning.
Kevin pointed to the proposed RRTP summary report that will be undertaken in the summer and that this could be committed to within the terms of reference.
Janine pointed out that while there is mention of HARSAG there is no mention of Ending Homelessness Together Action Plan, which John agreed should be included.
Yvette spoke about the need to communicate to wider stakeholders including voluntary sector, perhaps through a summary evaluation.
While Marion agreed with this. she added a caveat pointing out that the returns from each local authority can differ widely so things may be a bit less structured in the beginning.
Janine asked whether it should include what the group is looking for from HPSG?
Action 1: SG to track changes to the terms of references and share with the group for agreement.
3. SG Update
Kevin update the group on the following;
Homelessness related commitments within the SNP manifesto
- Invest an additional £50m over the next parliamentary term to end homelessness and rough sleeping. Kevin advised that clarity was still being sought over the additional £50m and how it may relate to current funding commitments.
- Ending homelessness and rough sleeping remains a national priority.
- Invest in replacing winter night shelters with new rapid-rehousing welcome centres to provide short-term emergency accommodation. Welcome centres will move people into accommodation including Housing First.
- Key to ending homelessness is prevention. Invest in a rapid rehousing approach and introduce a national programme to increase housing choices for those facing homelessness.
- Introduce legislation that strengthens people’s housing rights and ensure public bodies have a duty to prevent homelessness, building on the recommendations of the Prevention Review Group.
Unsuitable Accommodation Order;
- On 1 April, the first meeting of a new Working Group met to look at and discuss how breaches of the Unsuitable Accommodation Order are interpreted and recorded as well as how failure to provide temporary accommodation is also recorded.
- The aim of this working group is to ensure that all LAs record data in the same manner to ensure consistency nationally.
- The LA WG met on 14 April to discuss the expiry of the temporary exceptions due to end 30 June 2021. Members felt that a further extension would be required.
- Cosla to prepare a paper that will be submitted to the Minister when in post and SG will provide a submission outlining what the UAO position is and advising of LA concerns.
Housing to 2040
Published on 15th March, it includes:
- Continued focus on Ending Homelessness, including a new cross-public sector prevention duty
- A 10 year commitment to 100,000 affordable homes (70% for social rent)
- A new rented sector strategy across private and social rent – seeking to ensure affordability, ever greater participation and inclusion – to underpin a Housing Bill in the next session
- A range of work to support the transition to zero emissions housing – not least a new Zero Emissions Housing Taskforce – alongside continued focus on Fuel Poverty (an updated strategy will be published this year)
- Improved housing quality standards which are tenure neutral and will raise the quality of our homes, alongside development of a new Help to Improve policy and increased activity on retrofit of existing homes
- A new Scottish Accessible Homes Standard for new homes, to ensure homes can be easily adapted to meet accessibility needs and improve choice for disabled people
Janine confirmed John’s observation that with a recently updated Ending Homelessness Together Plan and no change in direction from that, there was no requirement to provide more around homelessness than is already contained within the Housing to 2040 publication.
4. Roundtable Updates
Housing Options Hubs
Each Housing Options Hub had provided a written summary in advance of the meeting and gave a short verbal update to the sub-group covering main points.
East Hub are still meeting fortnightly with alternate meetings focussing on covid recovery and issues beyond this respectively. Hub members are mainly focusing on developing and progressing RRTP’s. Also noted an emphasis across the hub on addressing mental health issues.
Tayside Fife and Central
Martin advised that the HUB has recently moved to monthly meetings.
They are now looking at wider issues alongside covid recovery, which remains the priority. Across the board the hub is experiencing a reduction in presentations, probably due to pandemic. Most have seen a reduction in demand for TA from summer last year. But some still seeing a high demand with B&B usage.
Housing First, including HF for young people is progressing. There is proactive engagement with the PRS and in particular around evictions when covid restrictions ease.
John asked whether there’s evidence to show a prevention led approach to RRTPs being taken and sustained over the next year or so. Marion advised that the RRTP’s show a lot of work around prevention is taking place, including around evictions.
Martin confirmed there is work ongoing with RSL’s and survey of private landlords around an expected surge in applications. Confident that they won’t see that but are seeing a rise in applications from YP now restrictions are lifting.
David felt that RTTPs have proved a good tool for homelessness prevention.
Some benefits seen from responding to covid through having to work in different ways on the ground, which has resulted in things being moved more quickly, which he thinks should be beneficial moving forward.
Ewan mentioned that DWP have employed 1300 new advisers and want to have conversations about embedding advisers in other partner organisations, which the hubs might want to be aware of.
Marion noted that colleagues in Scottish Social Security Agency have been active in embedding the service within partner organisations.
Jacqueline mentioned that the hub had moved to monthly meetings from fortnightly.
Draft performance template devised to allow sharing of hub member standard performance updates in order to cut down on the time spent discussing these during the meeting. There are variations on levels of homelessness presentations across the hub. Proportion of presentations due to relationship breakdown is increasing.
Common themes across the hub include the progression of Housing First an increase in flipping of tenancies, development of TA strategies and digital inclusion. Two member authorities have bid for a place on HIS programme around homelessness prevention and harm reduction.
Iver advised the hub has moved to monthly hour long meetings with one longer meeting each quarter. Hoping to return to face to face when they can. Health, Homelessness and Social Care event was held for partners to consider their responsibilities in line with the Homelessness Prevention Duty. Highland Council are upscaling HF, looking at moving to rural HF applying learning from approach and implement in Skye.
South West Hub
Andrea advised their Hub also moved to monthly meetings. Future meetings will move away from statistical updates with more focus on prevention activity.
Focus on progressing HF, including reconfiguring remaining hostel accommodation.
Prevention is a focus across the Hub. Work around acquiring a Tenancy Sustainment fund. Good example in D&G who are paying rent arrears accrued, taking a spend to save approach. More demand for TA from new presentations mainly as a result of relationship breakdown. Service user event cancelled in March 2020 due to pandemic will be held back until able to resume face to face events, as it was felt virtual event not feasible.
Paper to HIS on care and health outcomes for people experiencing homelessness and substance misuse. Nth Ayrshire had experienced nine deaths due to drugs/alcohol, some of whom were ex-prison leavers. They will be working with the Care Inspectorate on this.
3rd Sector Updates
Ewan confirmed HF Pathfinder Programme has reached 500 tenancies.
All in for Change programme has been funded for another year - available for hubs to access.
Everyone Home Collective meeting monthly with main priorities being:
- End of night shelters
- Destitution support for those with no recourse to public funds
- The new Parliament following election and what the 3rd sector can do
- Community based prevention
Housing Support Enabling Unit
Yvette highlighted Shared Spaces event on Thursday 20 May with HNS. Looking at role of supported housing in conjunction with Housing First and Rapid Rehousing.
Feeley Review – carrying out work around the review with regard to where does homelessness feature, including delivery of a webinar.
Looking at sustainability funding available for social care, homelessness not doing too well from it. Looking at current round of funding extending beyond 30 June. Guidance is being redrafted with that in mind.
Scotland’s Housing Network
Tim advised currently involved with two local authority fora meeting regularly – one which covers all of them and the other specifically for stock transfer authorities.
Relationship with RSLs – looking closer at good positive relationships that exist to dig deeper into why it is working so well. Conversations have been set up in order to begin that work. Also carrying out a review of implementation of Prevent1 guidance in order to get a view of where local authorities are in their implementation.
Eileen confirmed work being done in partnership with Homeless Network Scotland around a No Recourse to Public Funds webinar. Being new to the post she is currently still finding her way around the sector.
Health & Homelessness
Ruth Robin from Healthcare Improvement Scotland (HIS) was unable to attend, but Matt Howarth from SG gave a health and homelessness update:
- Ruth had met with John Mills and SG Homelessness officials in May about the potential for HIS to review RRTP updates from local authorities and identify links to health. HIS noted the RRTP updates could help analyse patterns, gaps and issues in this regard. There will be a further discussion on this in June.
John said he was to discuss this further with ALACHO and will feedback.
Matt updated on the HIS project, funded by SG, Reducing harm, Improving Care to learn from and build on the lessons of joint working across homelessness and addictions services during the pandemic, building on the findings of the pre pandemic Hard Edges Scotland report. Four LA areas are still to be chosen for this work and this should be announced soon. Homeless Network Scotland and Scottish Drugs Forum will be involved in delivering the lived experience part of the project and a further meeting on this will be held on 20th May.
Matt also mentioned re- visiting the plan for a national network of RRTP co-ordinators and HSCP leads with HIS, following a national event on this in January.
A number of other connections were highlighted including links established between the HIS project, SG Mental Health officials and the Multiple and Complex Needs Sub Group of the DDTF and SG Homelessness links to the SG Care at Home team in relation to the consideration of homelessness in responding to the Independent Review of Adult Social Care.
Action 2: Hub representatives to check with their respective hubs on whether they would be content to share the Activity and Spend returns with Healthcare Improvement Scotland.
5. Housing First
Marion highlighted that this is a transition year for Pathfinders. Corra and Homeless Network Scotland both secured with funding to take the Pathfinders through this transition. Seeing different arrangements across pathfinders in terms on mainstreaming with: Aberdeen procuring support services; Aberdeenshire bringing inhouse via their Rural HF programme; Dundee continuing with the current consortium; Edinburgh are varying an existing contract with a current support provider; and Glasgow we are likely to see existing arrangements remain for transition year.
In terms of monitoring of HF, building on the tracker, looking at what is it we want to collect? Currently speaking to SG stats colleagues and have been talking to local authorities. Spreadsheet expected to be available in June in order to start capturing data.
Kevin confirmed 11 local authorities together with reps from Wheatley Group, NHS Forth Valley and Transform attended the Rural HF Working Group meeting. It included an interesting presentation on Rural Housing First in Canada from a third sector organisation in Lanark County on the East of Canada. Kevin is currently looking to have a follow up conversation and see if we can learn from them around a HF toolkit they have and a fidelity check list. The LAs in attendance provided positive updates on progress and there has been a number of LAs who have commenced a HF programme. A few LAs are currently in the middle of procuring support services with a view to commencing Housing First later this year. Kevin highlighted that they are hearing about a lot of cross sector discussion including in Dumfries and Galloway who are having conversations with ADP, SPS and HSCP about funding for HF.
Marion confirmed there will be a session on HF in the RRTP Coordinators’ event in June. This will include the Rock Trust around HF for youth.
Janine advised a new member of staff joining the SG will be looking at housing affordability, which will hopefully help clarify our shared understanding of ‘affordable housing’.