Housing First Europe Conference to be held in Scotland

An international conference is being held in Glasgow on 27 April 2023, bringing together housing and homelessness leaders from across Europe who are committed to redressing housing disadvantage through the Housing First approach.

The event is hosted by the Housing First Europe Hub, who work to support a shift to Housing First as the first and central response to homelessness across Europe through advocacy, training, practice, research, support and communication activities.

The Hub was established in 2016 by the Y-Foundation (Finland) and FEANTSA (the European Federation of National Organisations Working with Homeless People) along with more than 15 partners. Since then, the Hub has grown to include more than 37 organisations, cities, government ministries, housing providers and researchers from across Europe and beyond. Scotland associates are the Rock Trust, Turning Point Scotland, Simon Community Scotland and Homeless Network Scotland who have worked in partnership with the Hub to host this year’s event in Scotland.

On Thursday 27 April 2023, the event will open for delegates from across Scotland to join the discussions – and we warmly welcome colleagues from all sectors who are working in and around homelessness in Scotland. Here’s an outline of the programme:



09:30 Welcome from the Housing First Europe Hub

09:45 What’s next for Housing First in Scotland? Speakers from Scottish Government and Homeless Network Scotland

10:30 Roundtable Introductions

10:45 BREAK

11:00 Making the Shift. How are housing providers, support providers and local authorities shifting to a Housing First approach?

World-cafe style, moving between roundtables – sharing insights and approaches.

12:30 LUNCH

13:30 System Change – learning from experience.

14:15 Roundtable Discussions

14:30 Plenary Session

15:30 CLOSE

The free event is taking place at The Renfield Centre, 260 Bath St, Glasgow G2 4JP. Places are limited, please book your place here selecting the tick-box ‘April 27th’ and entering your name, organisation and dietary requirements.

The Big Ask: acting now to prevent homelessness

A summary of the key themes from a webinar hosted by Homeless Network Scotland on 21 February 2023 which was attended by over 120 colleagues from 19 local authorities, from the NHS, health and social care partnerships, housing associations, academia and the third sector.

In a cost-of-living crisis with rising homelessness, confirmation that the new homelessness prevention duties will be included in the housing bill in the second half of 2023 provides some much-needed optimism – or at least anticipation.

Homeless Network Scotland are among those who have been involved at different stages in the development of the duties and we are strongly committed to ensuring that as many people as possible are consulted and briefed on the duties and their implications.

The purpose of ‘The Big Ask: acting now to prevent homelessness’ webinar was to update on the expected timeline of the duties. And further, to explore what more can be done now to prevent homelessness by learning from 3 important insights – lived experience, the third sector, local places.

1. Prevention: what did the Christie Commission say?

The christie commission is a rare example of a report that both unified and articulated a diverse range of perspectives about the future delivery of public services. Published over a decade ago, it still reads as if it was an analysis of today. On prevention, the christie commission said:

  • The adoption of preventative approaches, in particular approaches which build on the active participation of service users and communities, will contribute significantly to making the best possible use of money and other assets.
  • Such approaches will help to eradicate duplication and waste and, critically, take demand out of the system over the longer term.
  • Maximise scarce resources by utilising all available resources from the public, private and third sectors, individuals, groups and communities.

The webinar was opened in this context, with the package presented reaching across these themes.

2. Prevention of Homelessness: what type?

With such a wide range of activity potentially contributing to preventing homelessness, an organising framework – the 5-Stage Typology of Homelessness Prevention – was developed by colleagues at Heriot-Watt and Cardiff universities and which defines activity as follows:

The prevention of homelessness duties, combined with existing homelessness duties, would span stages 2-5. The learning presented and themes discussed in this webinar span the same stages 2-5.

3. What is expected in the Housing Bill?

The prevention duties will be included in the housing bill which is expected to be published in the second half of 2023 with the intention to strengthen housing rights and to include:

  • Wider public bodies to ‘ask and act’ about housing situations.
  • Local authorities to take reasonable steps to prevent homelessness (with the steps set out in either secondary legislation or statutory guidance).
  • Referrals from public bodies to be treated as an application for assistance by the local authority.
  • Window for homelessness risk extended from 2 to 6 months.
  • Aligning homelessness assessment with prevention assessment, recognising households may balance between both.
  • Changes to the definition of domestic abuse and the need for social landlords to have a domestic abuse policy.
  • Assessment of housing support needs to be included in local homelessness strategy  and/or Local Housing Strategy.

4. Three key insights

The webinar welcomed the insights from lived experience, the third sector and from local places on what works to prevent homelessness. This was invited from:

(i) Learning From Lived Experience

Shea Moran, who represented the Change Team, reflected on the work of their Prevention Commission, which shaped the recommendations of the Prevention Review Group’s final report. Shea articulated the importance of ensuring through the new duties that people who experience or are at risk of homelessness, especially young people, do not have expectations or responsibilities on them that do not apply to other members of the public.

(ii) Learning From the Third Sector

Pauline Kerrigan from The National Lottery Community Fund shared the learning from the fund’s strategic investment in homelessness which was intended to respond to their own findings that homelessness is a priority at local level, while complementing a strategic priority for government. Uniquely, the process included peer review across the applicants so that the issues most important to the sector as a whole could be funded.

(iii) Learning From Local Places

Andy Peline from SWAMP reflected on his involvement with the Staying In programme which took a place-based approach to preventing homelessness. In this project, popular community organisations who were not ‘homelessness’ organisations were invited to ‘Ask and Act’: to ask about housing, and to act to prevent homelessness where there was a risk. Andy shared how this was done at point of initial contact and that mirroring the prevention duties informally at community level was very effective at preventing homelessness.

All homelessness starts in a community, which means that local places can play a pivotal role to help prevent it. However the risk of homelessness is not equal, with some people and places more affected than others. Places that are most affected also need to see more progress in the bigger factors that create homelessness. Preventing homelessness starts here:

5. … and six key themes from discussion

Some of us will have an enhanced duty to prevent homelessness. Some of us will have a new duty to prevent homelessness. And some of us will have no specific duty – but want to help. The following key themes emerged from the feedback that was shared in the breakout rooms:

  • The ‘Ask and Act’ duties were coined by the prevention commission and so are well informed by what people closest to the issues, people with lived experience and frontline responsibilities, think will work best to prevent homelessness earlier.
  • We need a strong balance that focuses on both parts of the duties, ask and act. In many cases, the public sector will need to act after asking about housing. In other cases and at earlier stages, a household can be enabled to act to resolve their own housing situation. Routine enquiry and a supportive line of questions will maximise that outcome – asking the right questions sensitively to get to the root of the problem. Guidance and training will be key.
  • Although the duty to ask and act will not be on communities and community-based organisations, it will be important to encourage a local role to prevent homelessness earlier and closer to home. As well as the range of local groups and services that people connect with, communities host housing activists, community champions, connectors and others with an interest in local housing who want to be involved in preventing homelessness in their area.  
  • It has been demonstrated that good outcomes are possible when subject experts (on housing and homelessness) collaborate with local experts and people with lived experience to problem solve at a local level. Adopting a place-based approach to preventing homelessness means connecting with existing community groups and networks to help identify housing issues earlier. This can be a simple two step approach of asking about housing and acting on what people tell you – mirroring the prevention duties.
  • Cementing preventing homelessness as a priority outcome in Local Outcomes Improvement Plans can help non-statutory and place-based approaches to branch out right across communities in Scotland. LOIPs are the mechanism by which Community Planning Partnerships deliver improved outcomes for their communities.
  • Preventing homelessness will be radically more cost-effective in the longer term. But the potential will be limited if the transition is not resourced properly in the short-to-medium term. This can also harness the enthusiasm for prevention more widely, with some services already reshaping and shifting towards a more upstream approach in anticipation of the new duties.

You can view the slides from the webinar here.

What will you learn in 2023?

Every day’s a learning day 

  • We are always reviewing the training courses we offer. We’d appreciate your help to shape our training offer. Please take 5 mins to complete a short survey by Friday 17 March at 5pm – and we’ll throw in a *free training place in a course of your choice if you do.
  • *Please note the free training offer is limited to 2 delegates per organisation on completion of the full survey.
  • Link to survey
  • Come and visit our Learning Lounge and see what is currently on offer for 2023
    – new courses are being added across the year. 

Closer to home:a place-based approach to preventing homelessness 

All homelessness starts in a community, so a place-based approach to preventing it happening is part of a wider shift towards employing assets that already exist in communities to improve wellbeing, address poverty and prevent homelessness. The learning experience will connect the causes and drivers of homelessness with the local knowledge and services that can provide an early warning approach using a simple two-point technique. It is designed for professionals working with people at risk or those who come into regular contact with members of the public.

BOOK Closer to home

Rough guide to homelessness policy & legislation in Scotland

This course looks in detail at existing and recent housing and homelessness policy and legislation in Scotland and how it intersects to create a world-leading safety net for people experiencing or at risk of homelessness. Since 2017, the influence of the Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Action Group (HARSAG) and the Scottish Parliament’s Inquiry on Homelessness has led to the Scottish Government/COSLA High-Level Plan to End Homelessness. We will examine legislation while identifying and analysing local challenges in implementation. This learning opportunity will broaden your knowledge and understanding of current policy and legislation designed to prevent, alleviate and ultimately end homelessness in Scotland. Presented in a rough guide format.

BOOK Rough guide to homelessness

The unequal risk: equality in housing and homelessness

The Equality Act 2010 brought together over 100 pieces of legislation dating from 1970 to 2007 to provide a legal framework to protect the rights of individuals and advance equality of opportunity for all. We know that experiences of the housing system, including risk of housing crises and homelessness, are varied and we need to understand these differences so we can more effectively prevent and tackle homelessness. This session aims to help build your confidence in talking about, and acting on, diversity, equality and inclusion, representing the diverse communities of people affected by housing, homelessness and poverty issues.

BOOK The unequal risk

Not found what you’re looking for? Please contact us for more information and we’d be delighted to discuss your training requirements


Preparing for future challenges and opportunities means adapting and getting ahead of the curve. We know change happens when we change together. We also know that time means everything. We can help your team with topics such as:

  • Policy and strategy 
  • Facilitating groups and events 
  • Involving people with lived experience

Please contact us for more information and to discuss your consultancy requirements

The Very Best of Intentions: when does good do harm? 

Homeless Network Scotland are launching a conversation series to cast some light on why good intentions are not enough when responding to big social challenges like poverty, social isolation and homelessness. And why, without the right knowledge and partnerships, good intentions can even cause harm.   

The conversation series will launch at an online event on 6 December 2022 and continue through 2023, where we will be exploring questions such as: 

  • Why is all ‘charity’ or voluntary action portrayed as positive, even those with low-bar standards? 
  • What happens when we centre the motivations of ‘givers’ over the impact on people receiving? 
  • Why do people use foodbanks, on-street soup kitchens or ask passers-by for money?  What are the alternatives?
  • What do politicians do that helps – and hinders?
  • How can we help voluntary action to be pioneering and trailblazing, rather than resurrecting old practices? 

We will look back at the history and the lessons we have learned together, reviewing evidence and experiences of what works and what matters. And we’ll be inviting contributions from those closest to the challenge, with lived experience and expertise who will challenge us and encourage us in the right direction. 

Don’t miss the first of this series with conversation starters including from Sarah Johnson, ISPHERE at Heriot-Watt University. We are looking forward to seeing you at The Very Best of Intentions on 6 December 10-12. Book here. 

Homeless Network Scotland AGM 2022


On Tuesday 4 October 2022 at 13:00 in the Jura Room, Crowne Plaza, Glasgow G3 8QT 

Homeless Network Scotland’s Annual General Meeting 2022 will take place at the Crowne Plaza, Glasgow on Tuesday 4 October at 1.00 pm.  

Everyone is welcome to attend.

Full members will also be invited to elect the Board of Trustees and Directors of Homeless Network Scotland for the year ahead.

If you are a full member and would like to stand for election to the Board of Homeless Network Scotland, you can find a nomination form here. Please return by email to jhiggins@homelessnetwork.scot by 12 noon on Wednesday 28 September 2022

If you are not already a member of Homeless Network Scotland and want to vote at the AGM or stand for election to the Board – it’s quick and easy to join us. You will find a membership form here with full details.