Two Change Leads from All in for Change, Amanda Rutherford and David Pentland, share their reflections on facilitating the national roadshow.
In helping to produce ‘Taking the Temperature’, the latest report from the All in for Change roadshow, we held workshops and focus groups across Scotland to find out more about the current reality of the homelessness system. We were delighted to engage with more than 100 people working in homelessness and using homelessness services and we owe our heartfelt thanks to those who took the time to come along and share their views on working or being cared for in many different homelessness settings.
What was apparent in every conversation was a mixed bag of participants with lots of sectors represented and common themes emerged when we talked about challenges, such as the well-known challenge frontline workers and people experiencing homelessness face when services don’t interact with each other. A particular example that we heard in many different places was the lack of connection between mental health, addiction, and homelessness services.
We also made sure to hear about the good stuff – the more we talked with different people, in different places, the more we learned about the brilliant work currently taking place.
Whether that’s Aberdeenshire’s use of remote appointments to remove barriers to people making homelessness applications, or South Ayrshire’s approach to providing wrap-around support in Housing First, we found examples of inspirational work taking place all over Scotland.
In Edinburgh, Cyrenians are running a hospital in-reach programme with the NHS to help patients and staff navigate the homelessness system and prevent discharge into homelessness, while in Kilmarnock, a wellbeing unit within the police is focusing on early intervention, to tackle the root causes of homelessness.
The list could go on and on – there just isn’t space to cover them all in one blog. But while there are countless examples of good practice taking place at present, it is also clear that many of these projects do not get the recognition they deserve. That means, all too often, good practice in one area is not replicated in another.
In that context, it is vital we coordinate – that we work together, to learn from each other – to move towards more joined up services, where good practice in one area inspires the same quality of delivery in another. It is also vital that people with experience of homelessness drive this change.
Because listening to people with experience of the homelessness system can never be an after-thought. People with lived experience of homelessness, and those with expertise from delivering frontline services, must play a central role in mobilising plans for ending homelessness.
The homelessness system needs to work for the people who need it. That means we need to make services more streamlined, with better links between different sectors – such as health, justice and housing – as well.
If we do that, we can build a system that works for everyone.
The full Taking the Temperature report can be found here.
All in for Change are recruiting new members! If you want to be part of this team, using your experience to collaborate with decision-makers and engaging with people using and providing services, get in touch for an application pack – firstname.lastname@example.org