Marking one year of Everyone Home

The publication of the first Impact Report produced by the Everyone Home collective this week marks a year since people and organisations that are concerned about homelessness in Scotland came together to create a platform to connect, to gather evidence, set priorities and assemble the right people in response to a crisis.

Everyone Home is a unique collective of 35 organisations, including people with lived experience, concerned about the impact of the pandemic on homelessness. It is a third and academic sector group that has collaborated closely with national and local government to implement shared priorities.

In the early months of the pandemic, many aspects of Scotland’s response to homelessness increased in pace, scope and parity in response to the pressure of a public health emergency bearing down on the system.

Over the course of 2020 a commitment from the Scottish Government to listen and take on board radical solutions proved sincere and constructive, with rapid progress on actions that may have taken longer to accomplish under normal circumstances.

Maggie Brünjes, Chief executive at Homeless Network Scotland, who facilitate the collective, said:

“We needed to pool expertise in response to a crisis presenting as ‘too big’ for any single organisation to respond effectively. The speed and urgency, alongside partnership and co-operation, had a direct and immediate impact on policy and practice in Scotland.

“Our ambition is now growing as we finalise our work plan for year two. By retaining this third- and academic-sector structure we can continue to take collective responsibility for mitigating the impact of the pandemic on people going through the toughest times, providing an infrastructure for public sector colleagues, at national and local level, so we can achieve more together.”

The collective has so far published five influential pieces of work. A preliminary framework was published in June 2020 to help ensure there was forward movement in local and national efforts to tackle homelessness at a time of great uncertainty and looking ahead to post-pandemic priorities.

Four subsequent Route Maps followed between June and December. The route-maps were the Collective’s method of cutting through the range of evidence, information and opinion on some of the ‘big questions’ in the homelessness sector – and, importantly, to offer a way forward. They are:

The work plan is firmly rooted in the triple-lock measures laid out in the initial framework produced in June last year – more homes for good health, no return to rough sleeping and no evictions into homelessness. With several key achievements from year one now incorporated into policy and practice in Scotland, the collective is ambitious about what more can be achieved in partnership with national and local public sector colleagues.

Every vote is a vote for Housing First

Votes cast for one of the Holyrood parties in May’s Scottish Parliament election will be votes to help end homelessness for people with the toughest experiences.

Going into the election, all the Holyrood parties are backing a policy called Housing First, which international evidence, and experience in Scotland, proves is an effective method of ending homelessness for people with experiences such as trauma, abuse, addictions and mental ill health.

The policy has been running in six areas across Scotland since 2019 with the support of the Scottish Government. From April, it is set to roll out across most council areas and is the focus of our online conference taking place next week.

The approach provides normal, settled housing for people as quickly as possible rather than at the end of a long process that often fails to prevent or end homelessness and includes a support package tailored to the individual. Across the  Pathfinder areas there have been no evictions in the current programme out of 450 tenancies, with around 90% of those who started a tenancy remaining in their home.

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

“At least 8% of the Scottish population has experienced homelessness at some point in their lives. But we are not all at equal risk. Poverty is the main driver, and it is also linked to experiences going right back to childhood. Housing First should be the first response for everyone whose housing need is made much harder by trauma, addictions and mental health problems.”

“Housing First has rightly earned cross-party support and has also earned a long-term commitment from Scottish Government in the 20-year strategy for housing published this week. Why? Because it works. What has been achieved in Scotland is viewed as pacesetting by UK and international colleagues – but it wasn’t easy and this is just the start. Now we need the right and enduring resources and investment aligned at national and local level.”

Patrick McKay, Operations Director, Turning Point Scotland, said:

“Housing First is normal, it’s fairer and it works. If finding answers to society’s problems is the prize for those in government and opposition alike, then Housing First is a gift. In recent years in Scotland, more so since the pandemic began, resolving homelessness has resulted in increased cooperation and an acknowledgment that solving this problem is not impossible, but will take time.

“Turning Point Scotland helped to pioneer the Housing First model in its Glasgow pilot. Ten years on from that project we are ready to get behind the national challenge and help make Housing First a reality as a leading provider of support services.”

Professor Sarah Johnsen, of I-SPHERE, an award-winning research team at Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, said:

“To my mind, Housing First works because of four key ingredients. Firstly, by offering long-term security of tenure and support it offers a stable platform, freeing up headspace for residents to think about things other than ‘what happens next?’ housing-wise. Second, the support is truly flexible, changing in type, intensity, how and where it’s delivered as needed. Third, is sticks with people, even after periods of disengagement or blips in recovery, which would typically result in exclusion from other services.  Finally, it offers a normal home in an ordinary neighbourhood, with respite from the stigma and potential harms associated with many homeless service settings such as hostels and shelters.”

The Housing First Scotland Conference titled ‘Branching Out’ takes place on Tuesday 23 and Wednesday 24 March hosted by Homeless Network Scotland in partnership with Wheatley Group. The conference is an opportunity to hear directly from those responsible for Scottish Government homelessness policy, including an address by Kevin Stewart MSP, Minister for Local Government, Housing and Planning and Angela Constance, the Minister for Drug Policy as well as sector leaders across a day-and-a-half of activities and interactive sessions on three themes.

  1. Firm Foundations: 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.

View the conference programme and speakers by clicking here or book a place at one, or all, of the sessions by clicking here.

Supporting people without a settled address to vote in the Scottish Parliament election

Anyone who wants to vote in the election must ensure they register by midnight on Monday on 19 April. People who don’t have a settled address or are experiencing homelessness can register to vote. 

The Electoral Commission’s guidance for professionals who work with people experiencing homelessness is available to download here. This was developed with support from the Everyone Home Collective. 

If you have any questions after reading the guide you can contact your local Electoral Registration Office. You can find their details by entering the postcode for the address which the person you are supporting would like to register at here

If you would like to raise awareness about voting in the election, you can download digital and print resources from the Electoral Commission here

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 hello@homelessnetwork.scot

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.