Scotland: Have Your Say on Housing First

UPDATE: Consultation period has now ended.

A 90-page National Framework for Housing First in Scotland opened for consultation in November 2020. It is a ‘how to and why’ professional guide, setting out what each partner brings, and what each will need in order to make Housing First a success in all parts of the country from 2021.

Housing First provides ordinary, settled housing as a first response to redress the disadvantages faced by people whose homelessness is made harder by longer-term experiences such as trauma and addiction. The evidence base for Housing First is far stronger than for any other intervention for a group of people who have traditionally been poorly served by what is available to them.

Pathfinders in Aberdeen/shire, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Stirling launched fully in 2019. These local partnerships were tasked with exposing the challenges and difficulties encountered in scaling up Housing First across a local authority area, and to share that learning.

Homeless Network Scotland has drafted the Framework, with support from expert advisors from across national and local government, housing and support providers and the Pathfinders.

Maggie Brünjes, Chief executive at Homeless Network Scotland, said:

“Scotland is on a mission to scale up Housing First. It has cross-party support and a Pathfinder that has been guided expertly by the Scottish Government, councils and local providers. With scrutiny of local systems and processes by different sectors working in partnership, more people are being housed and supported more quickly.”

“What has been achieved in Scotland is viewed as pace-setting by international colleagues – but it wasn’t easy and this is just the start. If we really mean business it calls for a 10-year vision from politicians, housing providers and support services – an enduring commitment to create the right conditions for Housing First to flourish. This means the right investment, access to housing and delivered in a joined-up way with broader health and social care partnerships.”

International experience highlights Housing First as a catalyst for broader improvements in local housing and homelessness systems and this has been the early experience of the Housing First Pathfinders. Around 90% of tenants remain in their homes and a growing number are celebrating two years or more at home, with no evictions from the programme.

The National Framework draws from that learning and is designed for all organisations and sectors starting or scaling up Housing First in Scotland. It sets out the context in which the approach can be successfully delivered, and should act as a guide to planning, commissioning and implementing the approach. Importantly, section seven provides a ‘Live Status Report’, which will monitor progress toward achieving the right conditions for Housing First to be scaled up right across Scotland, in line with local need.

Maggie Brünjes added:

“This is a national challenge to redress the unfairness experienced by people whose homelessness is made harder by experiences such as trauma, addictions and mental ill-health. Each partner brings something unique – but also has a set of expectations of what they need in place to enable them to deliver. We want to hear from all individuals and organisations that have an interest in Housing First, or a role in delivering it.”

The draft National Framework for Housing First is available here.

Please follow @HFScotland for updates and email to discuss any element of the Framework.