‘Branching Out’ will light the way for Housing First in Scotland

Branching Out: The National Framework for organisations and sectors starting or scaling up Housing First in Scotland, has been launched at Scotland’s Housing First conference. The 100-page guide endorsed by the Scottish Government and COSLA lends its title to the online event.

The highly detailed yet easy-to-navigate guide sets out the context in which Housing First will be successfully delivered and draws on learning from existing programmes such as the Housing First Pathfinder. It is a ‘how to and why’ guide to planning, commissioning and delivering the approach locally and nationally covering community justice, housing and social care issues as well as local and national government.

Kevin Stewart MSP, Minister for Local Government, Housing and Planning in the Scottish Government, said:

“I believe the publication of this National Framework marks a significant milestone in the further scaling up of Housing First across Scotland. The Housing First model may have some differences in different localities, but the publication of this National Framework provides a solid foundation on which to build future delivery of the model across the country in a consistent way.

“I would like to extend my thanks to Homeless Network Scotland for their hard work in bringing together this important document. I would also like to thank all of those that have contributed to both the consultation which informed its content and to the implementation to date of Housing First across Scotland, including through the Pathfinder programme.”

Cllr Kelly Parry, COSLA Community Wellbeing Spokesperson, said:

“The publication of the framework is a significant milestone in our shift towards an evidence-based system with integrated services and a rights based, person-centred approach to housing and homelessness. I am grateful to those with lived experience of homelessness who have helped develop this through sharing their views and expertise.

“We know that homelessness is often the consequence of a combination and culmination of structural and individual factors, such as poverty, ill health and wider societal inequalities. And we know that preventing homelessness and mitigating the impact on the health and wellbeing of those people experiencing homelessness, requires a partnership approach.”

Martin Armstrong Chief Executive, Wheatley Group, said:

“We are proud to be one of the founding partners of Scotland’s Housing First approach. There is no doubt that Housing First is effective and we are delighted to see it becoming an integral part of social policy in Scotland. We will go on playing our part – with partners, such as Scottish Government and local authorities – and hope this new national framework will encourage others to do so too”.

John Mills Chair of ALACHO and the Rapid Rehousing Transition Plans sub-group of the Scottish Government Homelessness Prevention and Strategy Group, said:

“I welcome the publication of the Housing First National Framework to guide the scaling up of the provision of Housing First tenancies in Scotland. Housing First is now confirmed as a core element of all Rapid Rehousing Transition Plans to assist homeless and potentially homeless people access secure tenancies with wrap-around support to sustain their tenancies.“

Sally Thomas Chief Executive, Scottish Federation of Housing Associations, said:

“SFHA is delighted to support the publication of the Housing First National Framework, which has been informed by consultation with our members as well as our strategic partnership with Homeless Network Scotland. Housing First has quite rightly been recognised as a key mechanism for delivering many of the ambitions set out in the Scottish Government’s Ending Homelessness Together and Housing to 2040 strategies and I know this National Framework will be a key resource for Scotland’s housing associations and co-operatives as they look to ensure everyone in Scotland has a safe, warm, affordable home.”

Maggie Brünjes, Chief Executive of Homeless Network Scotland, said:

“Housing First is a national challenge to redress the unfairness faced by people whose homelessness is made much harder by experiences with trauma, addictions and mental health. This National Framework draws from the learning of what’s gone before and underpins the task that lies ahead. It combines a practical framework for local partnerships, with a strategic oversight of progress toward achieving the best conditions and resources for Housing First to flourish.”