New System Alliance Launch: Monday 30 Nov

The New System Alliance will launch on Monday, with a week-long series of online events to explore new ways forward for cross-sector system change in the UK.  

The aim of the Alliance is to provide an opportunity to listen, to be heard and to look at solutions to bring about total system change. It will act as a home for those who have felt frustrated, unheard or invisible, whether coming from a place of direct experience or working in services, funding and commissioning.  

This initiative was built on the voices heard from people trapped in this failing system. In these conversations people shared their honest experiences of homelessness, social care, mental health, and criminal justice systems – their wisdoms. The response was overwhelming, highlighting many situations where systems have become a barrier that people needed to be overcome in order to move on with their lives. 

Homeless Network Scotland are proud to join partners across the UK to support people to take control, and together make systems work better for everyone. 

Please join us to celebrate the launch of this empowering initiative by registering to attend these free events: https://newsystemalliance.org/

Acronyms Aweigh! HARSAG And EHT For Frontline Workers

Join us on Tuesday 8 December 1-4pm for our latest members’ event, Acronyms Aweigh! HARSAG and EHT for Frontline Workers.

The Homelessness & Rough Sleeping Action Group (HARSAG) made over 100 recommendations in July 2020. Scottish Government and COSLA included these in the new Ending Homelessness Together (EHT) plan published in October 2020.

We will be hosting this free reflective workshop for frontline workers from all sectors across Scotland to explore these new priorities and what they mean for people working every day in frontline roles.

We will provide an overview of the HARSAG recommendations and how these were carried into the EHT plan. And reflect together on what the four main themes – prioritise prevention, settled housing options, equalities competence and responsive systems – mean for people working in direct frontline roles.

To get your online joining link, email hello@homelessnetwork.scot or call 0141 420 7272.

We hope to see you there!

Scotland: Have Your Say on Housing First

A new, 90-page National Framework for Housing First in Scotland has opened for consultation. It is a ‘how to and why’ professional guide, setting out what each partner brings, and what each will need in order to make Housing First a success in all parts of the country from 2021.

Housing First provides ordinary, settled housing as a first response to redress the disadvantages faced by people whose homelessness is made harder by longer-term experiences such as trauma and addiction. The evidence base for Housing First is far stronger than for any other intervention for a group of people who have traditionally been poorly served by what is available to them.

Pathfinders in Aberdeen/shire, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Stirling launched fully in 2019. These local partnerships were tasked with exposing the challenges and difficulties encountered in scaling up Housing First across a local authority area, and to share that learning.

Homeless Network Scotland has drafted the Framework, with support from expert advisors from across national and local government, housing and support providers and the Pathfinders.

Maggie Brünjes, Chief executive at Homeless Network Scotland, said:

“Scotland is on a mission to scale up Housing First. It has cross-party support and a Pathfinder that has been guided expertly by the Scottish Government, councils and local providers. With scrutiny of local systems and processes by different sectors working in partnership, more people are being housed and supported more quickly.”

“What has been achieved in Scotland is viewed as pace-setting by international colleagues – but it wasn’t easy and this is just the start. If we really mean business it calls for a 10-year vision from politicians, housing providers and support services – an enduring commitment to create the right conditions for Housing First to flourish. This means the right investment, access to housing and delivered in a joined-up way with broader health and social care partnerships.”

International experience highlights Housing First as a catalyst for broader improvements in local housing and homelessness systems and this has been the early experience of the Housing First Pathfinders. Around 90% of tenants remain in their homes and a growing number are celebrating two years or more at home, with no evictions from the programme.

The National Framework draws from that learning and is designed for all organisations and sectors starting or scaling up Housing First in Scotland. It sets out the context in which the approach can be successfully delivered, and should act as a guide to planning, commissioning and implementing the approach. Importantly, section seven provides a ‘Live Status Report’, which will monitor progress toward achieving the right conditions for Housing First to be scaled up right across Scotland, in line with local need.

Maggie Brünjes added:

“This is a national challenge to redress the unfairness experienced by people whose homelessness is made harder by experiences such as trauma, addictions and mental ill-health. Each partner brings something unique – but also has a set of expectations of what they need in place to enable them to deliver. We want to hear from all individuals and organisations that have an interest in Housing First, or a role in delivering it.”

The National Framework for Housing First is available here and the link to the consultation survey questions are here. Respondents are asked to feedback by 31 December 2020.

Homeless Network Scotland will also be hosting a series of consultation webinars during November and December. Please follow @HFScotland for updates and email housingfirst@homelessnetwork.scot to discuss any element of the Framework.

Housing First National Framework Opens for Consultation

This new and comprehensive 90-page National Framework is for all organisations and sectors starting or scaling up Housing First in Scotland. It sets out the context in which Housing First can be successfully delivered, and should act as a guide to planning, commissioning and implementing the approach.

Importantly, section 7 provides a ‘Live Status Report’, which will monitor progress toward achieving the right conditions for Housing First to be scaled up right across Scotland, in line with local need.

Housing First should be the first response for people whose homelessness is made harder by experiences such as trauma, addictions and mental ill-health. It provides ordinary housing in an ordinary community because this, for most people, is the best option. It combines settled housing with person-centred, strengths-based and flexible support – as much and for as long as someone wants it.

Please keep an eye on Housing First Scotland website for the consultation launch this week, and on social media at @HFScotland. For more information, training or learning opportunities, or to discuss any element of the framework in more detail, please email housingfirst@homelessnetwork.scot 

Housing First Scotland belongs to everyone who is helping Housing First become the first response for people whose homelessness is compounded by experiences such as trauma, abuse, addictions and mental ill health. It has been hosted by Homeless Network Scotland since 2016.

Save the Date: UK movement to change the system launch: 1 December

The UK-wide New System Alliance is a response to the experiences of people going through tough times. That the systems people need to navigate are at their most rigid when they should be at their most flexible. And whichever door people enter is often the label they have stuck on them – mental health, addictions, offending, homelessness… 

The New System Alliance has also been driven by what was heard through a series of workshops and seminars over the summer titled Wisdom from the System. Driven by evidence that current systems people encounter when they go through tough times are not working and need to change, learning from these workshops has informed next steps. 

After years of listening and learning from the realities of people’s lives Mayday Trust, Changing Lives, Homeless Network Scotland and Platfform all recognised the same problem – one of the biggest challenges people face going through tough times is the system itself. Funded by The National Lottery Community Fund, the New System Alliance will be a place for those who feel there is something wrong with the current systems for people experiencing tough times – and want to take a role creating a better, fairer one.

Save the date, 1st December 2020 for a week of online events where we will be exploring systems change, hearing from a variety of voices and provide the opportunity to challenge, discuss and reflect. Watch Homeless Network Scotland’s website for more information and on social media at @HomelessNetScot