HARSAG recommendations and next steps

In a statement released today (Wed 15 July 2020) the Minister for Local Government, Housing and Planning, Kevin Stewart MSP, approved in principle all 105 recommendations from the Homelessness & Rough Sleeping Action Group. 

The Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Action group (HARSAG) was reconvened in response to the pandemic. The group was originally established following renewed commitments to tackle homelessness in the Scottish Government’s Programme for Government in 2017 and subsequently submitted a set of ground-breaking recommendations, adopted in full.

The final report takes both an immediate and a longer-term view, addressing what it will take to protect progress made in the past four months, especially to prevent a return to previous levels of rough sleeping. It also considers how we can build on all that was achieved by local and national partners in the year before the pandemic – the first year of the transition toward a new, rapid rehousing approach. It includes stronger recommendations to assist urgent developments going forward, such as preventing homelessness, accelerating Housing First, increasing housing supply and ending destitution among people with no recourse to public funds. 

Maggie Brunjes, Chief Executive of Homeless Network Scotland and member of the HARSAG, said: 

“The Minister’s statement confirms the resolute intention of the Scottish Government to resolve homelessness over the next phase. Our warm appreciation goes to the Minister for reconvening this group and for accepting all of our recommendations.

“While Scotland was already heading in the right direction to resolve homelessness, the pandemic has forced the pace and taught us important lessons about urgency, collaboration, what’s possible – and what really matters. 

“Through cross-sector consultation, HARSAG has built from the early objectives identified by the Everyone Home Collective and from priorities of the Change Team, bringing lived and frontline experience. Going forward, these structures – connecting directly with our public sector, health and housing partners – will be vital to support implementation of these recommendations on the ground.”