Temporary Accommodation Standards – a Draft Framework

In October 2021, the Scottish Government established a Working Group to help produce a new standards framework for temporary accommodation in Scotland. The group has developed a draft framework and are now consulting wider stakeholders.

SOME BACKGROUND

Ensuring standards in temporary accommodation are consistent and of a good quality has been a priority for many stakeholders, due to the variance in standards across different types and in different areas. In 2018, the Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Action Group recommended a new framework to underpin temporary accommodation, taken forward as an action in the joint Scottish Government and COSLA Ending Homelessness Together Action Plan in 2018, updated in 2020.

In August 2019, Scottish Government held a consultation on improving temporary accommodation standards, which proposed changes to three main areas:

1.    The Unsuitable Accommodation Order;

2.    Advisory standards for temporary accommodation; and

3.    The development of a temporary accommodation standards framework.

Progess against each area includes (1) the Unsuitable Accommodation Order was extended to all homeless households from May 2020 and (2) new advisory standards for temporary accommodation were created and published in November 2019 in the interim Homelessness Code of Guidance.

THE CONSULTATION

Between October 2021 and May 2022, the Working Group has developed a draft set of standards, the third and final area of the original consultation. The draft standards span considerations for local authorities and partners in relation to:

  • Physical Standards
  • Location Standards
  • Service Standards
  • Management Standards

In advance of the draft temporary accommodation standards being agreed later this year, the Working Group are seeking stakeholder input on the content of the standards. The group invites you to review the temporary accommodation standards and provide comments to ensure that the quality of temporary accommodation is of good standard and meets the needs of the whole household.

TO RESPOND

View the draft Temporary Accommodation Standards Framework here.

Responses by email to the Scottish Government’s Homelessness Team on Homelessness_External_Mail@gov.scot

Please respond no later than 17 June 2022.

Rent arrears must not end in homelessness   

Scotland’s Housing First Conference on 31 March, taking place in person once again, will consider how a ‘no evictions into homelessness’ approach could work for tenants and landlords – and if it could be woven through the future Scottish rental strategy as a guiding principle. 

The Scottish Government is consulting on ‘A New Deal for Tenants – rented sector strategy’ that seeks to improve accessibility, affordability and standards across the whole rented sector. That consultation frames what is expected to be a popular afternoon breakout at the Housing First conference starting at 1.30pm hosted by Yvonne Gavan, Scottish Government and Ruth Whatling, Homeless Network Scotland. 

A New Deal for Tenants also commits to building on learning from the temporary Covid-19 eviction ban and consider how to further protect tenants from being evicted over the winter period. The conference will explore this theme at a ‘Housing ends Homelessness’ session hosted by Callum Chomczuk, National Director of Chartered Institute of Housing with guests David Bookbinder, Glasgow and West of Scotland Forum of Housing Associations, Lorna Cameron, Horizon Housing Association, Eileen McMullan, SFHA and Nicola McQuiston, Wheatly Group. 

Alongside many other issues, it is an opportunity to unpick how the ‘no evictions into homelessness’ principle, a pillar of the Everyone Home Collective 2022 plan, could operate in practice as part of the rented sector strategy. And specifically asking if it is possible to end to all evictions into homelessness, all year round?  

Maggie Brünjes, Chief Executive of Homeless Network Scotland, which is running the conference, said: 

“There should be no circumstances in Scotland when anyone is evicted with nowhere to go. The Scottish Government’s New Deal for Tenants is an opportunity to pin that principle and consider what practical measures are required to ensure arrangements work for tenants and landlords. 

“The stop on evictions during the pandemic was essential to protect public health and prevent homelessness. That first year of the pandemic may be too much of a one-off to benchmark but we can see a negligible impact on rent arrears. So, the question must follow, ‘Does the threat of eviction influence people in the way that has been long been assumed’.”  

The conference gets underway with A Well-Lit Path, focusing on learning and experiences at the end of Scotland’s Housing First Pathfinder that launched officially in April 2019. This panel session is hosted by Sir Andrew Cubie, Chair of Social Bite and former Chair of the Housing First Advisory Group. 

Sir Andrew Cubie said: 

“It is a pleasure to be taking part in this ‘in person’ event. It comes as the Pathfinder draws to a close, providing an opportunity to mark the achievements of this remarkable programme. Just as important is the focus on the future with an ambitious, scaled-up Housing First as part of Scotland’s transition to rapid rehousing, ending homelessness for the vast majority of those who take up a tenancy. In many respects this conference takes place at a pivotal time, making it an essential booking for the many who have contributed up to this point and for those who will take it forward.” 

Delegates are invited to reconnect at the venue after the conference and join colleagues and speakers for a glass of wine or a soft drink and snacks – an informal opportunity to catch up or make new connections. 

Book tickets on the Housing First Scotland website here and sponsorship / exhibitor packages are available to suit a range of budgets and requirements. Please email hello@homelessnetwork.scot to discuss or browse the right option for your organisation here. Follow on Twitter @HFScotland and #HeretoStay 

Conference: Housing First is ‘Here to Stay’

Taking place in person once again after two years online, the annual Housing First Conference on 31 March will hear that Housing First is ‘Here To Stay’ in Scotland, which is also the title of the one-day event at Edinburgh International Conference Centre (EICC) – now open for bookings. 

The Scottish Government this week announced that more than 1000 Housing First tenancies have been created across the country’s local authorities. The conference will be an opportunity to explore what we now know – and need – for the long-haul, as well as consider some of the pressing questions as the policy continues to scale up across the country. 

With a welcome return to in person events, delegates are invited to reconnect at the EICC after the conference and join colleagues and speakers for a glass of wine or a soft drink and snacks. An informal opportunity to catch up or make new connections. 

Firmly established as national policy in 2018, by the conference 27 Scottish councils will have embedded Housing First locally, providing ordinary, settled housing as a first response to redress disadvantage and for people whose homelessness is made harder by experiences such as trauma, mental ill-health or addiction.  

This year’s event will explore the following themes. 

  • From sprint to stamina: what is needed to reach the pace and scale of demand estimates for Housing First across Scotland? 
  • How can people with most to gain be a bigger part of putting Housing First in Scotland?  
  • How do we collectively ensure frontline workers feel supported, inspired and enabled? 
  • How can health and social care step up to this challenge – as joint planners, commissioners and providers? 

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

“Here to Stay is a celebration of the many hundreds of people now building and living their lives in their own home as part of a community. And marking a successful end to the remarkable Pathfinder which achieved results in line with international best practice, despite challenges as a result of the pandemic. With these firm foundations, Here to Stay will also provide an honest exploration of the pace and scale of the challenge that still lies ahead.” 

The conference gets underway with A Well-Lit Path, focusing on learning and experiences at the end of Scotland’s Housing First Pathfinder that launched officially in April 2019. Hosted by Sir Andrew Cubie, Chair of Social Bite and former Chair of the Housing First Advisory Group, the session features a distinguished panel of experts who have been involved in the Pathfinder, including: Ewan Aitken, Chief Executive, Cyrenians; Professor Sarah Johnsen, ISPHERE at Heriot-Watt University; Nicky Miller, Head of Homelessness, Turning Point Scotland; Ruth Ogilvie, Head of Services, Aberdeen Cyrenians; Bryan Smith, Head of Operations, Transform Community Development, Dundee and Emma Thomson, Head of Care at Wheatley Care.  

The morning segment continues with Housing Ends Homelessness. For Housing First to scale up in line with demand estimates, the supply of and access to affordable housing is key. Hosted by Callum Chomczuk, National Director Chartered Institute of Housing Scotland, this session will explore what is needed for and from the housing sector. Panel members include: David Bookbinder, Director, Glasgow and West of Scotland Forum of Housing Associations; Lorna Cameron, Chief Executive, Horizon Housing Association; Nicola McQuiston, Wheatley Group and other guests to be confirmed

Following a break for lunch, the afternoon session signals breakouts on topics such as New Deal for Tenants; Women and Housing First; Breaking the Cycle and Housing First Endings. One session, Housing First – The Help! will provide an expert overview of the new Housing First annual check-up process for local authorities and partners rolling out across the five Housing Options Hubs. 

The conference will be rounding off with a session on Home & Belonging from Heather Coady while Tyler Carey, Associate of Homeless Network Scotland, will be in conversation exploring what it is to be ‘trauma informed’, and how can Housing First lead and influence a culture of compassion. 

Book tickets on the Housing First Scotland website here and sponsorship / exhibitor packages are available to suit a range of budgets and requirements. Please email hello@homelessnetwork.scot to discuss or browse the right option for your organisation here. Follow on Twitter #HeretoStay 

People needing change, people leading change

Ginny Cooper & David Ramsay from Homeless Network Scotland reflect on their experiences working with people to lead Change.

Ginny: My colleague David and I are programme leads at Homeless Network Scotland focusing on systems and culture change and prevention, respectively. A big part of the transformational change we are working towards is to provide our network with clear and accessible information about what needs to change to help end homelessness in Scotland. So, we are having a go at co-writing a blog!

All In for Change was set up to help Scotland’s policy and legislation around housing and homelessness to be implemented in practice and is facilitated by Homeless Network Scotland in partnership with Cyrenians and Scottish Community Development Centre. The programme does this by connecting people and communicating clear messages and a common goal. It is led by a team of people with lived and frontline experience of homelessness and relies on their knowledge, and the knowledge of their networks, to find out what progress people are seeing in improving the way we support those currently experiencing homelessness.

Since joining the organisation in 2019 I have been encouraged by the commitment of the homelessness sector in Scotland to involve the voice of people with lived experience in driving change. Through co-production and co-design the traditional power imbalances we find in the current system can be challenged but there is still much more we can do.

David and I were excited to be asked to talk about our approach to Co-production at a Scottish Co-production Network’s learning event on Wednesday 24 November where we heard Jim McCormick from the Robertson Trust talk about the need for us to work towards making co-production a right and not just an invitation. I increasingly believe that it is not enough to ask people to only contribute their lived experience but also essential that we find the best way to apply people’s experience of the system to help them lead change.

Lockdown has also been a challenge with the programme only being launched a few months before we found ourselves connecting via Zoom. We have seen members drop out due to increased pressures at work, supported people who were less confident using digital platforms to ensure their voices were still being heard, and are continuously learning and adapting the way we do things.

David: Whenever I am invited to deliver a presentation on co-production it gets me reflecting on previous work I’ve been involved in, and this was no different.

Having been involved in the work of Homeless Network Scotland for ten years now, the first three as a volunteer, I’ve seen my fair share of attempts of co-production (some good, and some not as successful). I admit, I have been involved in some of the examples which have not gone so well but have gladly learned from these (well I hope so😊).

Looking back at one of the best examples I have been involved in was a project called Navigate. Navigate had peer volunteers advocating for people who needed support with housing and welfare benefit claims. This was the first peer led project I had been involved in where people who had experience of homelessness and benefit issues were supporting others. People had come along to volunteer and give up their own valuable time to help others. It was really close to my heart, as I came through a very similar route, so I was keen to get involved and make it a success.

When I think back, one of the first things we all had to agree on was a common aim for the project and an understanding of what co-production meant and that’s easier said than done. We introduced co-production at the very first introduction meeting, encouraging people to start thinking about what approach they wanted to use, and to agree on what was best for the group.

Most people had been involved in other projects before and were not used to this language (to be fair neither was I). So, it was important to start from a place where people were comfortable and take the time to explain why a co-produced approach was different, and what the benefits were. Delivering co-produced projects can take more time than traditional methods but the payback is worth it.

This was a great project and massive learning for me, and everyone involved. We would use this learning to shape projects over the next 5 years and are still referencing it now.

The co-production model is something that just feels right, and I believe we should advocate to use it more.

All in For Impact

An informed and connected social enterprise dedicated to supporting the homelessness, housing and related sectors in Scotland is open for business, with a targeted range of specialist consultancy and learning opportunities informed by lived experience.

We Are All in is represented by an experienced team of consultants and trainers available to provide a sounding board or assistance to housing associations, councils and third sector partners preparing for future challenges and opportunities. The team, hosted by Homeless Network Scotland, has vast experience in research, evaluation and systems analysis. And leading expertise in housing and homelessness policy and in creating diverse platforms for lived experience.

The team’s Learning Lounge is also now open with a new menu for 2022, reflecting the dynamic and rapidly evolving policy and practice environment. From the latest policy developments and legislation in homelessness to rapid rehousing and supporting people in their home, all can be designed around an organisation’s needs and local requirements.

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

“Learning from each other, understanding different perspectives and supporting others to make an impact is what we do. So we are delighted to consolidate this in the launch of the We Are All in programme for 2022. This enables the team to offer more direct capacity, a sounding board or support to create a culture where everyone in your organisation is all in.”  

As part of the training offer, the new ‘Rough Guide to Homelessness Policy and Legislation in Scotland’ captures key aspects in a rough guide format along with a useful timeline among the resources for colleagues to take away. A previous participant commented:

I particularly valued the structure of the course and how it both unpacked the big policy areas individually – yet also brought them together into a coherent vision of what’s around and happening at the moment. Given just how much is going on at the moment this was absolutely invaluable.”

The full range of consultancy services and learning opportunities are set out in the new We Are All in – 2022 Brochure. To discuss consultancy services whatever your requirements call Martin or Janice on 0141 420 7272 or email allin@homelessnetwork.scot for a call back or more information.