Ending homelessness in Scotland – are you all in for change

All in for Change is a powerful collaborative development that is about to hit the ground running, bringing together people with lived experience of homelessness, frontline staff and people at government level.

This Change Team means business and will be represented on a national strategy group on homelessness chaired by the Housing Minister, Kevin Stewart MSP.

Around 20 Change Leads will build a national network of those living and working with homelessness to influence policy and strategy at a local and national level, while developing an online shared resource which will ensure everyone to keeps up to date with what is happening.

No one understands the need for change better than staff in frontline support and advice roles along with people, like me, who have experience of homelessness. With my fellow volunteers at Homeless Network Scotland, I have brought lived experience of homelessness to the table to share information, challenge current systems and effect positive change by communicating with people in different roles in the sector.

Over the last few years there has been some fantastic research conducted with people who have lived experience, which has produced insight on what the real issues are. The importance of lived experience consultation and participation in the planning and decisionmaking process is now recognised as being important at both local council and government level here in Scotland.

This is a crucial step forward as it means that collaborative teams are being formed so that decisions are made ‘with’ those who have lived experience rather than ‘for’ them. It gives people like me an additional voice, a place at the table and a key part in the decision making process. It is empowering and long overdue.

This new and high-profile team of passionate, non-judgemental, respectful and open-minded people with frontline and first-hand experience of homelessness, will lead the systems, practice and culture change we need. Well connected to people and groups across areas and services they represent, the team won’t be afraid to have the ‘difficult’ conversations needed to take control and influence policy and strategy. Team members will be challengers not ‘yes men’, they will be disruptive when necessary and passionate about making things better.

Supported by Homeless Network Scotland (formerly GHN), Cyrenians and Scottish Community Development Centre, the work is funded by Scottish Government and the Frontline Network, from St Martin-in-the-Fields. Anyone invited to be part of the team will not have to give up their day job. Drop in information and chat sessions for those interested in being part of the team are being held in Perth, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen and Troon. For further information and application pack please click here

Written by Celeste, a volunteer with Homeless Network Scotland