Housing Options Scotland joins Everyone Home

Housing Options Scotland has joined the Everyone Home, making 36 organisations in the collective. In 2022 Housing Options Scotland is celebrating 25 years of providing housing information, support and advice across Scotland. Moira Bayne, CEO of Housing Option Scotland, said: “We are delighted to join the Everyone Home collective alongside many other brilliant organisations all working to end homelessness in Scotland.”

Through their Homeless Housing Options service the team have supported more than 150 clients who are homeless, or at risk of homelessness, with advice. The vast majority make up the hidden homeless population in Scotland – not roofless but trapped in inaccessible housing or sofa surfing with friends and family. Housing Options Scotland aims to work with partners in the sector to share the perspectives of their clients and work collaboratively to find solutions for them.

Moira added: “We hope that by joining this broad-reaching coalition, together, we will be able to make inroads in ending all forms of homelessness in Scotland, for all different people.”

Moira Bayne has been CEO at Housing Options Scotland since 2008 and sits on the board of Homeless Network Scotland and Abbeyfield Scotland. Previously, she has been a board member with Veterans Scotland and ACOSVO. For more information about the range of people supported by Housing Options Scotland please visit their website here.

New Resolutions to help Everyone Home in 2022

Leading homelessness charities, academics and people with personal experience of homelessness have published ‘Platform for Change 2022’ outlining urgent priorities for the coming year to mitigate the scale and experience of homelessness during the ongoing pandemic.  

It is a public health emergency, but the pandemic and its aftermath will also create the conditions that create homelessness — job loss, rent arrears, poverty and the breakdown of personal relationships and living arrangements.  

The Everyone Home collective wants to make faster gains on key fronts in 2022, by connecting knowledge, capacity and networks – drawn from across the third and academic sectors – with a public sector in Scotland facing unprecedented challenges. 

At the start of the pandemic, the collective set out three immediate priorities: more homes for good health; no return to rough sleeping; no evictions into homelessness. Since then, the collective has collaborated with the Scottish Government, local authorities and housing associations to implement shared priorities around this triple-lock of measures. 

These measures also now underpin the collective’s approach for 2022 – setting out what matters and why, the change needed in 2022 – along with the specific role that the Everyone Home collective will contribute. Among the range of measures includes: 

  • An ‘Ask About Housing’ professional and public perceptions programme to support implementation of new duties to prevent homelessness.  
  • Commissioning expert support to scope the potential of high-value social investment to increase housing supply in targeted areas. 
  • A route-map on a role for the private rented sector to increase housing capacity and options to prevent and respond to homelessness. 
  • Securing a strategic funding partnership to mobilise Fair Way Scotland and bring about an end to destitution among people with no recourse to public funds. 

Many aspects of Scotland’s response to homelessness have increased in pace in response to the pressure of the public health emergency since 2020. The challenge for organisations working in the sector has been to keep pace with rapid change and safeguard what has been achieved so far. 

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

Housing was our first line of defence against COVID-19 before vaccines and the other measures we have in place now. The pandemic brought into sharp focus how linked our home, health and wellbeing are and shone a brighter light on rough sleeping as the public health emergency it always was. 

“We know the pandemic and its aftermath will create conditions that create homelessness — loss of employment or reduced hours, rent arrears, deeper poverty and the breakdown of personal relationships and living arrangements. To prevent this, we need to protect the progress that has been made and make faster gains on the big issues that drive homelessness.” 

The collective has identified the key fronts where faster gains are needed in 2022: 

Poverty Reduction: as poverty is the key driver of homelessness, in all its forms.  

Structural Levers: local housing systems where supply matches demand. Stopping homelessness is also dependent on the health of local labour markets and the strength of the welfare safety net. 

Public Sector Readiness: public sector infrastructure joined up to prevent homelessness, with well-resourced Rapid Rehousing Transition Plans. 

Implementation Gap: homelessness policy is strong but change on the ground is slow. More focus on implementation and more value given to persistence, continuity and implementing what works. 

Health & Social Care: better connect HSCPs in joint planning and commissioning of key approaches to prevent homelessness and provide support at home. 

Path Dependency: meet resistance to change head-on and clearly articulate the new directions to end homelessness as set out in Housing to 2040 and the National Plan to End Homelessness. 

Place-based: because all homelessness starts in a community. The need to spotlight what causes it and anchor more prevention work in communities. 

Coproduction: lived and frontline experience of homelessness brings unique and important insight. And ensuring the third sector is represented as a strategic partner, not solely a provider of services.

Maggie Brünjes added: 

“The emergency legislation introduced in the Scottish Parliament early in the pandemic played a vital role in protecting people’s homes – and may in part have contributed to the reduction in homelessness reported during the first year of lockdown. We need to build from this with an end to evictions into homelessness, the prevention of avoidable evictions along with greater focus on reducing poverty and better joined up working across all sectors and services.” 

Platform for Change 2022′ can be viewed here [pdf] 

For more information on the Everyone Home collective visit www.everyonehome.scot 

Christmas comes early for Gorbals & Pollok communities with £200,000 Lottery ‘win’

Grassroots community organisations in the Gorbals and Pollok areas of Glasgow have received £200,000 from Homeless Network Scotland thanks to a National Lottery Community Fund project which is designed to prevent homelessness in communities in Glasgow. The decision about what organisations received the funding was made by a panel of local people in each community.

The ‘Staying In’ project is funded by The National Lottery Community Fund, with Homeless Network Scotland and partners Unity and SCDC, joining local people and organisations on a panel to allocate funding based on innovative ideas and solutions to prevent homelessness where it starts – in communities – using a ‘place based’ model.

A place-based approach goes local, recognising that within a community there are existing resources, skills and a willingness to solve the issues experienced by people who live there.

Diaspora African Women Support Network (DAWSUN) received £34,800 to support vulnerable families and individuals at risk of becoming homeless. The drop in at the Adelphi Centre in Gorbals will be open twice a week for service users and will be a community-based early intervention program to help individuals who are at-risk of becoming homeless.

Dr Chioma Nwafur, Executive Director, Diaspora African Women Support Network (DAWSUN), said: “The ‘Staying In’ Gorbals funding has allowed us to provide wrap-around support for Ethnic minority families at risk of homelessness before they present as homeless. Our homelessness intervention hub is open on Thursdays and Fridays. The majority of families are asylum seekers, refugees and ethnic minorities who speak very little English, struggling with the challenges of overcrowding, squatting, low income and troubles with neighbours. The funding meant that DAWSUN could assign them individual caseworkers and teach English.”

SWAMP in Pollok is a Community Development Trust and charity, using training, outreach, film, music, digital technologies, gardening and the creative arts to bring about change. They received £45,000 from the fund.

Andy Peline from SWAMP said: “As a community-led development trust we understand our community and are well placed to address many of the issues within it. However, the hardest part is securing the resources to tackle local priorities. Thanks to the support of the National Lottery Community Fund, we will be in a better position to create local employment opportunities and directly address the causes of homelessness within our community. We plan to test a wraparound service that will not only remove the threat of eviction but will also support people to manage their tenancies in the future.”

Preventing homelessness is made easier by circumstances such as access to adequate income or some savings, positive relationships, social networks and support or advice, advocacy and information about available services. The ‘Staying In’ programme is about helping people to stay in their area if they are at risk of homelessness.

John Edmiston, Area Housing Manager with New Gorbals Housing Association, which received £40,000 funding, said: “This fund is to target and support people who might be at risk of homelessness or who have come from homelessness. For people who have that experience one of the biggest problems in a new flat is the lack of essential items and utilities everybody needs to set up and maintain a comfortable home.

“We’ll provide essential home items such as flooring, seating, beds, bedding, microwaves and window blinds as well as support with the first month’s food shop and initial gas and electricity payment. Thanks to this Lottery funding we have been able to develop our idea to help new tenants at risk of, or who have experienced, homelessness to remain in the local Gorbals community or settle in here.”

The National Lottery Community Fund’s Scotland Chair, Kate Still, said: “When we announced this package of funding back in June 2019, we hoped that it would support a wider change across the sector and support organisations to work more collaboratively to address the issue of homelessness in Glasgow.  I am delighted that, some two and a half years later, the first awards are being announced from the Community Trailblazers programme and that National Lottery funding will have such a lasting and positive impact.”

David Ramsay, Change Lead at Homeless Network Scotland, helped to facilitate the scheme and also grew up in Pollok. David said: “The best way to end homelessness is to stop it happening in the first place. This was close to my heart because of my ties to the area, I have seen so many situations where people had to move away from family networks and friends because of homelessness. We must help people stay in their communities where the right support is available.”

Scottish Government Budget 2022-23

The Scottish Government’s Budget for 2022 to 2023 sets out the direct spend on homelessness; £10 million is being made available from the Ending Homelessness Together fund including additional funding for rapid rehousing transition plans. The £23.5 million homelessness support fund to local authorities is being maintained. More detail on the homelessness and housing content below.

  • The £10 million being made available from the Ending Homelessness Together fund is part of the overall investment of £100 million between 2018-19 and 2025-26.  The 2022-23 allocation for homelessness includes further funding for rapid rehousing transition plans, with a key focus on supporting delivery of the national Housing First approach.
  • Scottish Government remain committed to delivering 110,000 affordable homes, 70% for social rent, by 2032.  Total investment in the Affordable Housing Supply Programme is maintained at 2021-22 levels at £831 million.
  • Rented sector reform work will be kick-started with a £2.75 million investment to progress the Rented Sector Strategy, with a focus on quality, affordability and fairness in private and social rent.
  • A further £80 million is being made available for discretionary housing payments to help people meet housing costs and mitigate the bedroom tax in full.

Other relevant announcements

  • Chapter 1 sets out the spending priorities with a focus on tackling inequalities – some of the key points are noted here: 
    • Investing £197 million in the Scottish Child Payment – doubling it to £20 per week from April 2022 and expanding eligibility to children aged 6-15 from December 2022. 
    • A new public sector pay policy underlines that national mission to tackle poverty by introducing a public sector wage floor of £10.50 per hour from April 2022, with additional funding for Local Government to ensure this applies to adult social care workers in commissioned services.
    • The Protecting the Scottish Welfare Fund with £41 million. 
    • Scottish Government has allocated the 2022-23 budget using a human rights-based approach, which means work continues on the new multi-treaty Human Rights Bill, to be introduced this parliamentary term incorporating the right to adequate housing.