New Duties to Prevent Homelessness Scottish Government & COSLA Consultation

Scottish Government & COSLA have published a joint consultation on new Prevention of Homelessness Duties. The background to the consultation includes:

  • A recommendation to legislate from the Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Action Group in 2018, accepted by Scottish Ministers.
  • Recommendations from the Prevention Review Group reporting 2021, convened by Crisis and chaired by Professor Suzanne Fitzpatrick.
  • The Prevention Commission, who influenced and scrutinised the Review Group’s work during 2020-21. Led by people with personal experience of homelessness and/or in frontline roles, the Commission was pivotal in cutting through to what matters. You can review the Commission’s deliberations here.

The new duties build from a simple framework to ‘Ask and Act’ – to ask about housing and to then act on what people tell you. The principles underpinning the new duties are that:

  • Responsibility to prevent homelessness should be a shared public responsibility and not rely solely or primarily on council’s homelessness services.
  • Intervention to prevent homelessness should start as early as possible. In many cases this will be before issues have escalated to a point where homelessness appears imminent. 
  • People facing homelessness should have choice in where they live and access to the same range of housing outcomes as other members of the general public, with appropriate protections to mitigate further risk of homelessness. 
  • Housing outcomes should be comparable across the new prevention and existing homelessness duties.

We are holding this online event to create the opportunity to fully explore the prevention duties together. Join us for:

  • A full briefing on the scope and intention of the prevention duties.
  • Discussion and debate on the key principles and proposals.

This is a free event for Homeless Network Scotland members. Not a member? Join up here

Right to Addiction Recovery Bill Consultation

The Right to Addiction Recovery (Scotland) Bill was written by activists and was published as a member’s bill by the Scottish Conservatives.

consultation was launched in October 2021 on a proposal for a Bill and closes in January 2022. The Bill aims to give people a right in law to access a range of different options for treatment and services. In 2020, National Records Scotland reported that drug deaths in Scotland were the highest in Europe and on record. 1,339 people died following drug use in 2020. And just this week, the NRS reported an increase in deaths while people are homeless and in temporary accommodation in Scotland. 256 people had their death recorded while homeless during 2020 – the majority (59%) were preventable drug-related deaths.Join us for a briefing on the scope and intention of the Bill from those involved in its development, on the parliamentary process a bill goes through before it becomes an Act – and discuss what difference the Bill would make, and any amendments it might need to achieve that. Speakers include from the Drugs Policy Unit at Scottish Government and Stephen Wishart, advisor and activist and co-author of the Bill. This is an event for Homeless Network Scotland members. We look forward to seeing you then.

Fair Way Scotland

Roundtable for Funders, Grant Makers & Commissioners

9 December 2021 | 12.30 – 2.00pm | MS Teams
Chaired by Dr Jim McCormick, Chief Executive of The Robertson Trust

An important lunch-time session to take-stock of recent policy and mood changes that will impact on how people seek sanctuary in the UK. Along with the new need to prevent destitution among many thousands of EU nationals with no settled status following Brexit. A crisis is unfolding, but collaborative urgency and action can head off the worst impacts.

Attend this session for:

  • A briefing on recent Immigration Policy developments from the UK-Government and their anticipated impact on people.
  • A discussion on how the devolved nations are working to create a fairer way forward.
  • An update on Fair Way Scotland, an exploratory action learning programme to design-out destitution and protect human rights.

Please email to book a place.

Webinar launches Scotland’s new national Housing First ‘Check Up’

An online event for local authorities and partners on Thursday 25 November will set out plans for a new ‘Check Up’ process that will support the rollout of Housing First in Scotland. Activity will be co-ordinated by a nationwide policy and practice network supported by a strategic partnership between Homeless Network Scotland and the Scottish Government.

Housing First provides ordinary, settled housing as a first response for people whose homelessness is made harder by experiences such as trauma, addiction and mental ill health.Scotland is the first part of the UK to move ahead with a national rollout, with local authorities at the spearhead of this transformation.

Branching Out, The National Framework for organisations and sectors starting up or scaling up Housing First in Scotland, has been updated ahead of the webinar to reflect the latest research and data.

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

“The Scottish Government has committed to scale up Housing First and all councils in Scotland have local plans on how Housing First will be implemented in their area.

“However, there’s doing something and there’s doing the right thing, at the right time and in the right place. We know that local authorities are naturally reflective and already committed to the Housing First approach. The new annual check-up process builds on this strong foundation with additional support and advice, safeguarding the elements that make Housing First work.”

Updates to the 100-page National Framework, endorsed by the Scottish Government, SFHA, CIH and Wheatley Group among others, link into the Prevention Review Group report, Shared Spaces research into shared and supported accommodation and the Housing First Interim Evaluation Report delivered by I-SPHERE at Heriot-Watt University. The Framework is a ‘how to and why’ guide to planning, commissioning and delivering the approach locally and nationally covering community justice, housing and social care issues as well as local and national government.

Growing evidence from across Scotland and the rest of the UK supports the delivery of Housing First for specific groups in addition to the wider group of people with the sharpest experiences of homelessness. For example, the Rock Trust and Almond Housing Association have tested Housing First for young people leaving care in West Lothian and their evaluation shows that:

  • All but one young person has continued to sustain their tenancy.
  • All young people described ways in which their relationship with their Housing First worker had led to positive changes in their life.
  • Some young people reported improvements in mental health and satisfaction with life, healthy eating and exercise, and some reported fewer problems as a result of substance misuse.

The Housing First Check Up webinar for Local Authorities and Partners takes place on Thursday 25 November 2021 from 10am to 12.00pm on the MS Teams platform. The event will be hosted by Sir Andrew Cubie and Marion Gibbs, Team Leader – Homelessness, with the Scottish Government. Book a place here.

What will it take to scale up Housing First in Scotland?

You are warmly invited to an interactive briefing and webinar for local authority leads and partners involved in starting up or scaling up Housing First. The event will be chaired by Sir Andrew Cubie and Marion Gibbs.

Scottish Government and Homeless Network Scotland have developed a package of support with tools to help all councils, commissioners and providers of housing and support to scale up Housing First.

Navigate a new framework to guide this, a method to assure Housing First is delivered according to the principles, a tool to monitor progress – plus hear more about a package of bespoke training and support for local partners to swap notes and share experiences.

We look forward to seeing you then. Register your place here