The Scottish Government annual report to Parliament on the Action Plan was published Thursday 20 October: Ending Homelessness Together: Annual report to the Scottish Parliament October 2022 (www.gov.scot)
The report summarises progress towards meeting the commitments made in the Ending Homelessness Together Action Plan. The Measurement Task and Finish Group (co-chaired by Homeless Network Scotland and the Chartered Institute of Housing Scotland) will make recommendations for how future annual reports can focus on impact, so that we will understand more about what’s working.
A few key points from the annual report:
- Hidden Homelessness – Scottish Government is commissioning research to understand more about the experiences of people who don’t approach the local authority for support and are therefore hidden from the official homelessness statistics. Scottish Government is also working with the Office for National Statistics to develop novel methods of collecting data on these groups.
- Local connection – if approved by Parliament, the legislative changes will come into force on 29 November which means that Scottish local authorities will from that date no longer have the power to refer a person who is homeless or threatened with homelessness to another local authority in Scotland on the grounds of their local connection.
- Homelessness prevention – the Housing Bill detail will be announced next year, timings still to be confirmed. There will be a consultation before final decisions are made. Some existing grants for local authorities are going to be restructured so that prevention work is a more significant requirement.
- No wrong door – highlighting the importance of the development to the prevention duties and person-centred approaches.
- National Care Service – it is not proposed that the housing or homelessness functions of local authorities should transfer to the National Care Service. However, the report sets out how important it is that social care support services work effectively alongside other services, including across housing and homelessness.
- Housing as a human right – a new Human Rights Bill including the right to adequate housing will be introduced this parliamentary session. The Scottish Government will consult on the proposals for the Bill in 2023.
The full action plan is here.