180 allies come together for launch of New System Alliance

The beginning of December saw Homeless Network Scotland, Mayday Trust, Platfform and Changing Lives host a week of conversations in an online event to launch the UK wide New System Alliance. 

The topics of discussion ranged from A World Without Fixing to Action Beyond the Conversation, with common themes emerging such as: How do we create support around the community? and, rethinking language and the use of labels. We reflected on how we have created a system where services and people who are there to help often get in the way, and that we need to give power and resources back to the people going through tough times – and the families and communities which support them. 

“I want to see change for people – I want to be part of that change”

There will be more news about how to get involved with the New System Alliance coming in the new year, but until then you can:

Re-watch the discussions: newsystemalliance.org/events/
Read our Wisdoms from the System: newsystemalliance.org/wisdom-from-the-system/
Become a New System Ally: newsystemalliance.org/new-system-allies/
Follow us: @NewSystemAlly 

Centre for Homelessness Impact – End it with Evidence Campaign

Earlier this year the Centre for Homelessness Impact launched the book, Using Evidence to End Homelessness, which brought together the insights of leaders in government, academia and the not for profit sector to call for the evidence-led and person-led transformation of the homelessness field.

End it With Evidence builds on this foundation to mobilise, at this moment of great change, a growing chorus of ‘what works’ champions to ensure that, as part of aiming to end homelessness for good, we use this opportunity to understand how to end it effectively. How to end it sustainably. And importantly how to do the most good possible with existing resources. 

The campaign is founded on three following principles, which call upon those working in homelessness to:

  1. Build the evidence of the policies, practices and programmes that achieve the most effective results to improve the lives of people who are homeless or at risk.
  2. Build the capacity needed to act promptly on the best knowledge available to improve decisions and help limited resources go further.
  3. Use evidence-led communications to change the conversation around homelessness, challenge stereotypes, and make sure that homelessness is not a defining factor in anyone’s life.

You can support the campaign in the following ways:

Sign the pledge

The pledge is asking everyone in the centre to commit to evidence in three ways. You can sign the pledge by visiting the website

Share the campaign with your network 

you can show your support on social media using the graphics and draft tweets provided, and by retweeting the Centre for Homelessness Impact. Here is a social media asset you can use and here is a suggested Tweet:

I’ve just joined the #EnditWithEvidence campaign, because I want to ensure that, as part of efforts to end homelessness for good, we use this opportunity to understand how to end it effectively. How to end it sustainably. How to end it with evidence.

Contact the Centre for Homelessness Impact for more information

If you’d like more information about the campaign, how to action your commitment to the pledge, or would like to come on board as an ambassador, drop Jade a line on jade@homelessnessimpact.org and she will be happy to help. 

Shared Spaces: Future role of supported housing as a response to homelessness

The expansion of the Unsuitable Accommodation Order and the transition to Rapid Rehousing and Housing First are both drivers for the sector to redefine the role of supported housing and shared living as a response to homelessness in Scotland.  Homeless Network Scotland commissioned and co-funded, with additional funding from Action for Children, Crisis and Turning Point Scotland, a qualitative research project led by Anna Evans at Indigo House which will seek to better understand:     

  • In what circumstances, if any, is shared or supported accommodation the appropriate housing option for households experiencing homelessness? 
  • What should the shared and supported accommodation options required in these circumstances look like?  
  • What is the likely scale of such shared and supported accommodation options likely to be in the future?  
  • How well placed are local authorities and service providers to adopt these housing options at the scale required? 

The early themes emerging from the research are already interesting and in 2021 a national conversation, culminating in an annual conference in the Autumn, will be launched to interact with and hear from as many people as possible across the homelessness, housing, justice, health and social care sectors.  So please watch out for the launch and participate in the national conversation as much as you can.

Rent Better Research Findings

The role that the Private Rented Sector can play in ending homelessness in Scotland has long been the subject of debate.  For some, the more limited security of tenure and higher rents makes it a less than optimal option, and for others, the potential additional choice of location offered by the sector can be important.  

The introduction of the new Private Residential Tenancy in December 2017 sought to improve security of tenure and access to justice by providing open-ended tenancies and ending no-fault evictions.  To understand the impact of these legal changes on the rights and responsibilities between landlords and tenants, the Nationwide Foundation commissioned Indigo House to deliver the three-year Rent Better research programme.   

The first report from the research programme has been published with key findings including that while the majority of people feel secure in their tenancy, the minority that feel less secure are those with less financial power – those living in deprived areas, on lower incomes and housing benefit.  Also, the research showed that more effort is required to support tenants to build knowledge of their legal rights.

A short video outlining the research project is available at Baseline introduction from the Nationwide Foundation | Rent Better (indigohousegroup.com) and the full and summary research reports can be found at Findings | Rent Better (indigohousegroup.com)

Home Office Policy Further Discriminates Against Rough Sleepers

Many organisations and local authorities across the UK have voiced serious concern over a new Home Office policy affecting migrants that makes rough sleeping grounds for removal for non-UK nationals, providing the Home Office with the discretion to cancel of refuse a person’s leave to remain if they are found to be rough sleeping.

The new policy came into force on the 1st of December however the Home Office is yet to publish guidance on how the policy should be implemented by local authorities. 

Many migrants are affected by No Recourse to Public Funds (NRPF) conditions, as part of their leave to remain or visa conditions, or due to their status in the asylum system, meaning they cannot legally access social security or access homelessness services when they fall on tough times. Those seeking asylum in the UK are also not permitted to work, cutting off another route out of destitution. Many fear that the new policy will drive those with NRPF into dangerous or exploitative situations to avoid risking their leave to remain as people may be fearful to access outreach services and routes out of rough sleeping at the risk of deportation. 

It is estimated that 300-500 people in Scotland with NRPF experience destitution at any one time who may be affected by this policy change and find their leave to remain at risk due to a lack of resources as a result of Home Office policy. Homeless Network Scotland joined as a signatory on a joint letter to Home Secretary Priti Patel MP and Secretary of State Robert Jenrick MP to bring attention to the concerns of many migrant and homelessness organisations across the UK. The full letter can be found here.  A response to the letter was received on 14 December 2020, notably confirming that the new rules will not come into effect until new guidance is published. The response can be found here.

Homeless Network Scotland are working with the Everyone Home Collective to develop a 5 year strategy for Scotland to support people with NRPF to access accommodation, legal advice, advocacy and practical assistance in line with the route map outlining how to create a society where we prevent destitution amongst people with NRPF and protect human rights. The full route map can be found here