BOOKING OPEN for ‘Branching Out’ Scotland’s Housing First Conference 2021

Booking is now open for ‘Branching Out’ the 2021 Housing First Scotland conference, an essential online event in partnership with the Wheatley Group to shape the next steps and launch the National Framework for Housing First.

Mark 23-24 March in your diary and view the 2-day programme and speakers by clicking here. You can also get in touch about the sponsorship and other opportunities we still have available by emailing

There will be opportunities to hear directly from those responsible for Scottish Government homelessness policy, as well as sector leaders from health, housing and homelessness organisations across a day-and-a-half of activities and interactive sessions.

  1. Firm Foundations: The first theme this year covers Housing First as an integrated policy priority with shared financial commitment, and shared outcomes. This theme includes the launch of the National Framework for Housing First in Scotland.
  2. Olive Branches: Successful local partnerships are central to the success of the Pathfinder. Learn how local Housing First partnerships have been formed, how they function, why they work and what aspects have been more challenging.
  3. Low & High Hanging Fruit: in theme three we explore the practical lessons learned, the early successes, and some of the growing pains. This theme will help us grow, improve and connect Housing First as it starts up in most Scottish council areas during 2021.

This is a pivotal year in the transition of Housing First towards becoming the default and rapid response for people whose homelessness is made much harder by experiences such as trauma and addictions. From pilots to Pathfinder, and now branching out across Scotland, the national challenge is to keep growing, while learning and improving as we go.

With three themes across two days, you will hear personal testimony, conversations, keynotes, lively panel discussions, sharing of data and knowledge, and, as always, the opportunity to get involved.

View the 2-day programme and speakers by clicking here.

Book a place at one, or all, of the sessions by clicking here.

SFHA and Homeless Network Scotland strategic partnership

The Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA) are hosting an online event Housing Now, Housing’s Future which takes place between 18 February and 4 March in four packed events spread over four half-days.

In summer 2020, SFHA and Homeless Network Scotland formed a strategic partnership, with the aim of strengthening the social housing sector’s role in tackling homelessness.

Our Chief Executive, Maggie Brünjes, will be discussing this partnership on day two of the SFHA conference. The session will profile some of the work being undertaken by Homeless Network Scotland alongside SFHA to support work on homelessness, poverty and inequality and explore how we plan to enhance this strategic partnership as we look towards recovery from the pandemic.

Learning experiences from home in the Learning Lounge

The following training courses are running in February and March 2021.

Co-Production in Commissioning and Procurement of Services (for local authority staff):
22 and 24 February from 10am until 1pm delivered over two, three-hour sessions.

This course is for commissioning and procurement teams, grant making organisations and those in the voluntary or private sectors involved in developing new services within their organisations wishing to gain an understanding of new approaches in Commissioning and Procurement. This session will use a solution-focused approach to explain about local needs, aspirations, and assets; clarify where and how to begin when involving lived experience in procurement; explore the benefits and impact of involving lived experience; understand what works and what doesn’t – from people with lived experience.

A Day in the Sun: Homeless Legislation in Scotland
10 March 2021 from 10am until 1pm
This course looks in detail at existing and recent Housing and Homelessness Legislation in Scotland and how it connects to create a world-leading safety net for people experiencing or at risk of homelessness. This starts from the foundation 1987, 2001 and 2003 Acts – progressing right up to changes in local connection, intentionality and the Unsuitable Accommodation Order during 2019-21. Delegates will examine pieces of legislation, while identifying and analysing local challenges in implementing. Using current data and analysis, this is an interactive and participatory course which will broaden participant’s knowledge and understanding of Housing and Homelessness Legislation.

Rough Guide to Homelessness Policy in Scotland
22 and 29 March from 10am until 1pm delivered over two, three-hour hour sessions.

This course explores the current national and local policy infrastructure that underpins the legislation. 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 and 32 local Rapid Rehousing Transition Plans. Presented in a rough guide format, this innovative course will broaden knowledge and understanding of current policy to prevent, alleviate and ultimately end homelessness in Scotland.

Delivering Support in a Digital Environment
25th March from 10am until 1pm

Every year the Government sets ambitious targets to significantly reduce the number of people who experience digital exclusion, but until recently online portals were seen as little more than passive providers of information, with digital engagement and support reserved for only the most tech-savvy.

While advances in technology, the proliferation of devices and communication channels, and the greater availability of data for a 24/7 on-demand public have made digital support more accessible, COVID-19 made supporting people digitally a necessity. This Innovative course will introduce the participant to the use of digital support as both a compliment and an alternative to historic support systems by:

• Exploring the range of digital tools available, their uses and benefits
• Sharing learning from services which use digital technology historically
—Samaritans, Fellowships, help lines etc
• Sharing tools and tips for maximising digital contact and engagement;
• Identifying what to do when something feels wrong?
• Exploring best practice in digital safety for staff and clients
• Reading between the lines – interpreting problems without body language?
• Exploring how to use technology as a client diary.

New in the Learning Lounge

Tools, Tips & Techniques
for Involving people in your Service

1 February 2021

Often individuals and communities who don’t have a common, collective voice and are typically underrepresented in consultation and the development of services. This introductory course is for both front line practitioners and those in strategic roles. This interactive course looks in depth at:

  • Considerations when engaging those who use our services
  • Practical tools for engagement
  • Common barriers to engagement and how to avoid them
  • How to create a safe and friendly environment for participation
  • Creating equal relationships and boundaries
  • When and where? Opportunities for engagement are everywhere,
    how to find them

1 February 2021 | 1 x 3 hour session | Online | 10am – 1pm
HNS Member £60* / Non Member £78*

*Includes VAT

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

15 February 2021

There is already a network of services and systems for people who live and work with homelessness after it has happened. But this is often too late and sometimes too slow. All homelessness starts in a community, so a place-based approach to preventing it happening in the first place is key. The course will connect the causes and drivers of homelessness with the local knowledge and services that can provide an early warning approach using a simple 2-point technique.

This course is designed for community planning partnerships, community councils, and the wealth of community-based services, groups and networks. It is also for housing and homelessness organisations who are taking a place-based approach to their work

15 February 2021 | 1 x 3 hour session | Online | 10am – 1pm
HNS Member £78* / Non Member £96*

*Includes VAT

Participation in Procurement
(for local authority staff)

22 & 24 February 2021

This is for public sector commissioning teams and other funders who want to involve lived experience in the service commissioning process. This session will use a solution-focused approach to:

  • Explain about local needs, aspirations and assets
  • Clarify where and how to begin when involving lived experience in procurement
  • Explore the benefits and impact of involving lived experience
  • Understand what works and what doesn’t – from people with lived experience

22 & 24 February 2021 | 2 X 3 hour session | Online | 10am – 1pm
HNS Member £78* / Non Member £96*

*Includes VAT

Book a Course

New Courses for January 2021

An introductory overview on developing a communications strategy for public and third sector organisations, covering topics including:

  • how to engage with mainstream and online media; 
  • engaging with journalists;
  • creating and maximising a digital profile; 
  • messaging and brand recognition;
  • how to build a communications strategy;
  • making the most of your organisation’s profile;
  • communication in a crisis.

26 January 2021 | 1 x 3 hour session | Online | 10am – 1pm
Fee HNS Member £50* / Non Member £65*


This course will cover designing and delivering support alongside people who are staying in their own home. It will examine the pivotal role of the relationship between support worker and tenant and includes coaching techniques to help people to sustain tenancies and build strong links with their community. With the emphasis on using a person-led, asset-based and trauma-informed approach, this session will explore the important elements to supporting people at home.

 25 & 27 January 2021 | 2 x 3 hour sessions | Online | 10am – 1pm
 HNS Member £50* / Non Member £65*


+ VAT at the current rate