Blog: MyBnk Youth Homelessness Prevention

As The Money House project expands to Glasgow, MyBnk Scotland Partnerships Manager Gemma Orr talks youth homelessness in the city and how money management skills can help.

MyBnk is a charity that delivers expert-led financial education programmes to 5-25 year olds in UK schools and youth organisations – directly, virtually and online. Together with young people, we have created innovative, high impact and high energy workshops that bring money to life. 

In the midst of a homelessness and cost of living crisis, research tells us one in three care leavers currently lose their first home and 83% of evictions are caused by rent arrears. MyBnk’s Money House Project works to tackle youth homelessness through developing money management skills, with only 1% of Money House graduates ever being evicted. Following the success of four award-winning projects in London, The Money House has now expanded to Glasgow’s Hope Street. 

The Money House  

The Money House is an award-winning financial education service for 16 to 25-year-olds on the pathway to social housing – specifically targeting young adults in challenging circumstances, such as those leaving care. Over a week, a trained expert in a simulated flat environment in Glasgow, teaches participants everything they need to know to keep their tenancy. It focuses on survival money management skills, understanding systems, planning for the future and reducing financial exclusion. Using games and activities, it brings money to life, clears up misconceptions and confronts bad habits and worries like debt. Courses are available both online via Zoom and in-person. 

Bringing The Money House to Glasgow 

The decision to expand this project into Glasgow was driven by the clear need in the city. In 2019-20 there were 6054 homeless applications in Glasgow, and a further 2557 households were in temporary accommodation. In Scotland more generally, 8525 youth homeless applications were made last year, around 24% of children are living in poverty and 70% of young Scots were concerned about their financial situation during the pandemic. 

Each individual facing homelessness has their own story, but the heart of the programme has stayed the same – teaching young people how to live independently and lower the risk of homelessness through prevention rather than cure. Each person facing homelessness has their own story, but the heart of the programme has stayed the same – preparing 16–25-year-olds for independence and tackling homelessness through targeted prevention, rather than waiting until young people reach crisis point. 

The challenges facing young people in Glasgow will be different to those in London, and the financial landscape certainly differs too: benefits, housing, jobs, entitlements and financial exclusion all require local knowledge. MyBnk Scotland have been delivering money workshops in schools and youth organisations since 2019 and our Glasgow-based team have local knowledge and expert training to help them bring content to life for young people in Scotland. 

Getting involved 

The Money House targets young adults about to move into social housing. Those coming on the course can be referred by a range of stakeholders, including homelessness and young adult services within councils and housing associations and charity partners such as Barnardo’s. 

If you work with young people who would benefit from attending a course or want to find out more at one of our open days, please contact For any questions, please contact

The Money House Glasgow is funded by JP Morgan, SGN and The Quilter Foundation. 

Blog: David Kidd – diverse experiences with equal value

David Kidd is an improvement lead with Homeless Network Scotland and a member of the Glasgow Alliance to End Homelessness’ management team. Here he provides an update on the work being prioritised to ensure that people with diverse and direct experiences of homelessness have an equal decision making role in the Alliance.

The self-styled Glasgow Homelessness Involvement & Feedback Team – or GHIFT for short – are a collective of people with experiences of homelessness in Glasgow who work to represent the views and experiences of others experiencing homelessness in the city. 

When GHIFT assembled back in 2015, we set out with a goal in mind: to create a platform for people with experiences of homelessness to have an equal say in decisions and actions being taken to reduce and ultimately end homelessness in Glasgow. At the time that seemed like quite a radical idea but as the years passed, and trust was built, progress towards this goal got faster and for the last couple of years GHIFT have been doing exactly we set out to do – jointly making decisions about how homelessness services in Glasgow should work. 

For Homeless Network Scotland, this is a hugely welcome progression of our conviction that people have the right to have their opinions and perspectives heard and our commitment to creating the structures to enable that to be heard and acted on.

In Glasgow, the vehicle for this parity in decision making is called the Glasgow Alliance to End Homelessness. For anyone that doesn’t know, it is a ten-year partnership founded on unanimous decision making and an ethos of ‘Best for People’. The Alliance is between ten organisations including the HSCP, third and independent sector organisations and GHIFT. Homeless Network Scotland is part of the Alliance as a knowledge-based partner, and to centre and support the value of lived experience. The Alliance have overall responsibility for planning, delivery and transformation of services and support for those at risk of or experiencing homelessness in Glasgow with the aim of ending homelessness in Glasgow by 2030. 

It has been a couple of years now since the ink dried on the Alliance Agreement and it would be fair to say that a lot has happened during that time. 

Despite going into lockdown less than 1 month after the Alliance contract was awarded, GHIFT and the Alliance have been working hard to set up the Alliance structures, documentation, working groups, ways of working and so much more… And to begin the process of transforming the way that homelessness services in the city are delivered.  

None of this can happen in isolation though. To do it properly will need lots of support and the involvement of as many people as possible – from those using services and the services supporting them to the citizens of Glasgow themselves. Everyone has a part to play in ending homelessness. 

With that in mind, the next phase of the Alliance’s work involves working with those in the homelessness sector and beyond to develop a strategy that will drive the Alliance’s approach, direction and priorities over the coming 3 years.  As part of this, GHIFT will be running focus groups with people using homelessness services to ensure that the new strategy is directly influenced by what’s important to them. Look out for more details of these coming soon.

There are also a range of other events and activities that will inform the development of the Alliance strategy: 

  • For those working on the front lines of services within homelessness and related sectors there are Frontline Forum sessions happening on 28 September (online) and on the 5 October (in-person). You can read about GHIFT and Alliance Leadership Team member Mark’s experiences of attending previous Frontline Forums here.
  • For anyone else who has an interest in ending homelessness there are Alliance exCHANGE events happening on 22 September (in-person) and the 27 September (online). 
  • For anyone who is unable to attend these or who would like more details on how to get involved in shaping the strategy you can visit the Glasgow Alliance to End Homelessness website by clicking here

This is just the beginning though. To end homelessness will need everyone’s help and if you’ve got experience of homelessness in Glasgow and a determination for change then GHIFT needs your help too! We’ll be recruiting again soon, so to find out more about GHIFT or to add your name to our recruitment contact list – contact me at or phone 0141 420 7272./

The Social Distance Between Us by Darren McGarvey

Book review by David Pentland, Homeless Network Scotland

In the introduction of the book, Darren outlines the political landscape in the UK. He sets the scene well, with some reflections of the social distance between the Conservative government’s policies and legislation, and the aspirational needs of working-class people. He also underlines that the only thing “trickling down” in this economy is national debt, as billions of pounds are wasted in reactionary spending.

Darren begins by walking the reader though one of his own experiences of being class-profiled by the police in Glasgow. It really sets the tone, which immerses the reader in the daily struggles for people of the underclass in a battle for survival. He juxtaposes the experiences of the underclass against the experiences of a thriving upper class, awash with opportunity – a sharp critique of the notion that our society is in any way meritocratic.

There are many thought-provoking themes running throughout the book, although the main focus of this review will be on homelessness, after all it is our business! Having myself personally spent fifteen years revolving between homelessness and prison, followed by a further 20 years working in frontline service provision, Darren’s reflections, and his inclusion of lived experience, really highlight the plight of the people who slip through the cracks and suffer often punitive penalties for society’s lack of ambition around homelessness.

Darren’s movement through the homeless world highlighted a number of important issues from Edinburgh to Aberdeen: we owe it to people to get things right more often. Although the pandemic changed the face of homelessness in terms of rough sleepers, we still have too many people living in temporary accommodation and substandard accommodation, as Darren highlights. However, to say the homelessness problem is the least complex, as Darren says I would argue is a mere simplification of a very complex problem. We live in a time of multiple crises: addiction and mental health; structural obstacles in joining vital support services together; lack of affordable housing; lack of housing in areas people want to live; and refugees of war and political instability joining the ranks of ‘New Scots’, arguably leading to overpopulation in many urban areas.

The question for me always comes back to trauma: in my experience we have many people medicating trauma with psychoactive substances in the margins of our society, and no amount of policy or legislation will mitigate the impact trauma has on peoples’ lives. Add this to the demise of communities as self-sustaining entities, and throw in poor mental health, and we will continue to have a disproportionate amount of people dying on our streets and in our communities.

If ever there were a song to accompany a book, in this case it would be ‘Working Class Hero’ by John Lennon!

I will close with one example Darren did provide that was artistic in its form:

“He was frozen out by an opaque administrative maze, populated by faceless desk-killers. An organisational jigsaw puzzle where decisions with life-and-death implications are made behind a curtain of unaccountable officialdom”.

You can purchase the book here.

Blog: Ginny Cooper – No Wrong Door, better joined up working for those navigating a complex system

On Tuesday 26 July, representatives from across Scottish Government joined Homeless Network Scotland to discover and define what a practical, joined up system response should look like for people facing severe and multiple disadvantage – people having a really tough time. We were excited to meet colleagues from across the policy areas of homelessness, mental health, drugs policy, community justice, child poverty and The Promise – and are grateful for their time.

My role at Homeless Network Scotland focuses on systemic and cultural changes needed to end homelessness in Scotland. I believe that the systems which have been built to support people, whether that being when they are at risk of homelessness or experiencing mental health problems, are outdated and preventing people from thriving.

Looking at the evidence, Hard Edges Scotland (2019) explains the multiple needs for support of people living in deprivation, and new research from Glasgow University shows that homelessness, addiction, involvement in the criminal justice system and psychosis are linked to early and avoidable deaths. We know that one of the failing factors of the current system is the lack of communication and collaboration across systems and sectors, causing people using services to have to navigate a complex maze and repeat their story multiple times. We need a shift towards a more person-led system, across all public and voluntary support services, where joined up working allows for individuals to get the support they need and lead a life they value.

In Scotland, we have a progressive policy environment, but we are increasingly noticing an ‘implementation gap’, a discrepancy between the intention of great policy and the actual impact of that policy on the ground.

No Wrong Door is a new programme of work looking to explore practical and local solutions in how support services can achieve better joined up working across sectors.

There are 7 keys to No Wrong Door:

  • Preventative: Prevent adversity. Focus on early intervention and anticipatory forms of support that shift the emphasis from crisis response towards a better quality of life for people.
  • Coordinated Care: Rapid access to services, as directed by the person and supported/coached by a lead professional with the responsibility to coordinate joined-up services. End of passive referrals.
  • Person-led: People/families have choice and control and act on what matters most to them. Where services respond to that direction and build from people’s own strengths, capacities and successes.
  • Place-based: Valuing normality – home, community, relationships, recognition, love. Removing labels and centring ordinary activities in ordinary places – outside of services. Building local connections.
  • Trauma informed: Understanding the influence of past trauma on today’s decisions and interactions. The importance of safe environments and conversations, with support for practitioners too.
  • Equality competent: Moving beyond labels and symptoms, prioritising people and the root causes of tough times – poverty, inequality, trauma, relationships.
  • Learning Loop: Exploratory, action learning with feedback loop. Knowing more and taking corresponding, resolving action. Collective leadership – policy, academic, practice and lived experience.

By facilitating this discussion, we wanted to come together and discover where – what areas or places – there might be a shared appetite and energy to adopt a No Wrong Door approach. We discussed that for No Wrong Door to be successful we would have to take a slice through the system, identifying key stakeholders from housing and homelessness, social care, health and criminal justice. No Wrong Door needs to be led by the people who are directly involved in the services we are looking to shift, this means those delivering and using services as well as those designing and funding.

The values, capabilities and behaviours of people delivering services play a huge role in shifting a system. But, increased lack of resources and unhelpful bureaucracy has led to front line staff feeling deflated. By working with local communities No Wrong Door wants to connect people who understand what works well when providing support to those most at need, and what gets in the way. It wants to support them to work in collaboration to design solutions which work for everyone. To do this we are looking to work with two pilot areas and take people through a collaborative change process which includes building:

  • Awareness: People understand how, and have the permission to do things differently
  • Desire: People want, and feel able to do things differently
  • Knowledge: People know how to do things differently
  • Ability: People have the means and support needed to do things differently

It was clear that the Scottish Government colleagues get this – we know that many of the most progressive voices are already within the public sector and in pivotal roles. But we need help to create a learning system between the local and the national – and to work ambitiously outside of traditional sectors, silos, systems and services in a way that fully puts people first. Next steps will include pinning down our two test-of-change areas and having further conversations to decide what support is needed from Scottish Government to help create the conditions for No Wrong Door to succeed.

To find out more or to get involved – contact

Winter vaccination programme for people experiencing homelessness 

Public Health Scotland selected organisations to take part in an explorative session on the 21st of July 2022. Derek Holliday, Involvement Lead with Homeless Network Scotland, provides an outline of the session.

Last week Public Health Scotland held an event with housing and homelessness organisations to consult on how to support Health Boards to plan for the autumn/winter Covid-19 and flu vaccination programme. At the heart of this work was the drive to encourage better uptake among specific groups, including people experiencing homelessness and rough sleeping, by learning from their previous experiences and barriers to uptake.

Session aims were to:

  • Support Health Boards plan for the Autumn/Winter Covid-19 and Flu inclusive vaccination programme.
  • Capture the experiences and opinions from front line organisations and services that work with people experiencing homelessness and rough sleeping.
  • Learn more from target groups, where vaccine uptake has been lower.
  • Support Health Boards to explore inequalities issues and discuss practical responses.

The group worked through a number of topics identified within Health Boards’ vaccinations strategies, relating to people experiencing homelessness and rough sleeping, including:

  • Working collaboratively
  • Outreach work
  • Mass vaccination centres/clinics
  • Communications

And focused on the following questions:

  • What worked well/not so well during lockdown to increase uptake of vaccinations?
  • Any new ways of working to consider as a result of this learning?

Suggestions shared for improving uptake:

  • Outreach and trusted relationships have been identified as the ‘best working’ model for encouraging vaccine uptake and flu jabs in communities with those experience homelessness or rough sleeping alongside complex unmet health needs.
  • Mass vaccination centres and reminder letters do not encourage vaccine uptake within the community, a person-centred approach through trusted relationships and place-based approach is the best working model.
  • Better coordinated communications were needed from Public Health Scotland to the 3rd sector/voluntary organisations, especially around vaccine resources in other languages and alternative formats.
  • – specific groups and communities’ resources
  • – vaccine resources in alternative languages.
  • The group agreed that there were inefficiencies with the Patient Transport Services which did not meet the desired hope during the lock down. The group agreed that there may be better outcomes from supporting community organisations to deliver this service.
  • A centralised hub for accessible information for organisations supporting those experiencing homelessness/rough sleeping, especially around access to interpreters.
  • Taking advantage of opportunities to have a positive intervention as they arise, being better placed to take advantage of ‘will’ and not allow system made barriers.
  • Buy-in and agreement from Health Boards and Public Health Scotland in relation to vaccine waste, a vaccination bottle of Pfizer can only be transported once and only opened if all 10 persons are booked in to use all the vaccine dosages per bottle. However, Astra Zeneca was able to be transported multiple times and this allow Public Health Scotland runners to ensure no vaccine dosage was lost and allowed health workers to respond to the ‘will’ and opportunistic vaccine request from those experiencing homelessness and rough sleeping.
  • Hunter Street had great success in accessing over 50 Homeless service sites, being able to access the Turas System made the difference, the ability to see who had been vaccinated and to be able to update the system created great efficiencies and collaborative working.
  • Through the same framework, Hunter Street have vaccinated of 250 individuals with flu doses, delivering double the flu vaccines than any previous campaigns.
  • More pharmaceutical collaboration with city street teams to support community vaccine outreach, this was highlighted as an incredible bold model that allowed health needs to be identified and supported especially around those experiencing rough sleeping who often do not access mainstream services.
  • Vaccinations administered through assertive outreach in hostel accommodation and supported accommodation was rated as a great success

Next steps

The write-up, conclusions and recommendations from the session are being firmed up by Public Health Scotland in collaboration with those at the session. Once finalised, Public Health Scotland will share the findings with the 8 Health Boards across Scotland.