Ensuring everyone who is eligible gets to vote in May’s council election 

Scottish council elections are taking place on Thursday 5 May. Anyone who is 16 or over, lives in Scotland and has registered to vote can participate.  

People who don’t have a settled address or are experiencing homelessness can still register to vote. The Electoral Commission is keen that anyone who is eligible to vote and wants to participate in elections should be able to do so, including people who do not have a settled address or may be experiencing homelessness. Registering to vote gives people an opportunity to have their say on issues that are of importance to them.  

The 32 local councils in Scotland make decisions about local services including homelessness, libraries, parks / public places, roads and footpaths, social care and in some cases social housing.  

Anyone who wants to vote in this year’s council elections must ensure they register by midnight on Monday 18 April. While people with a settled address can register in five minutes at gov.uk/registertovote, those without a settled address may need to complete a ‘declaration of local connection’ form in order to register. 

The Electoral Commission has published guidance for professionals who work with people experiencing homelessness, which you can use to support those you work with to have their say on 5 May. 

If you need support with specific registration queries you can contact your local Electoral Registration Office. Details for your local office can be found by entering your postcode here. You can also download digital and print resources from the Electoral Commission, including graphics and posters, to run your own awareness campaign in your organisation. 

All in For Impact

An informed and connected social enterprise dedicated to supporting the homelessness, housing and related sectors in Scotland is open for business, with a targeted range of specialist consultancy and learning opportunities informed by lived experience.

We Are All in is represented by an experienced team of consultants and trainers available to provide a sounding board or assistance to housing associations, councils and third sector partners preparing for future challenges and opportunities. The team, hosted by Homeless Network Scotland, has vast experience in research, evaluation and systems analysis. And leading expertise in housing and homelessness policy and in creating diverse platforms for lived experience.

The team’s Learning Lounge is also now open with a new menu for 2022, reflecting the dynamic and rapidly evolving policy and practice environment. From the latest policy developments and legislation in homelessness to rapid rehousing and supporting people in their home, all can be designed around an organisation’s needs and local requirements.

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

“Learning from each other, understanding different perspectives and supporting others to make an impact is what we do. So we are delighted to consolidate this in the launch of the We Are All in programme for 2022. This enables the team to offer more direct capacity, a sounding board or support to create a culture where everyone in your organisation is all in.”  

As part of the training offer, the new ‘Rough Guide to Homelessness Policy and Legislation in Scotland’ captures key aspects in a rough guide format along with a useful timeline among the resources for colleagues to take away. A previous participant commented:

I particularly valued the structure of the course and how it both unpacked the big policy areas individually – yet also brought them together into a coherent vision of what’s around and happening at the moment. Given just how much is going on at the moment this was absolutely invaluable.”

The full range of consultancy services and learning opportunities are set out in the new We Are All in – 2022 Brochure. To discuss consultancy services whatever your requirements call Martin or Janice on 0141 420 7272 or email allin@homelessnetwork.scot for a call back or more information.

Latest Homelessness Statistics

The Scottish Government has published the latest homelessness statistics, covering April to September 2021.  The data shows: 

  • There were 14,447 homelessness applications across the country.  While this is 2% higher than the same period in 2020, it remains lower than before the pandemic 
  • There remained 26,001 open homelessness cases at the end of September 2021.  While this is 7% lower than the same time in 2020, partly due to a higher proportion of households securing settled accommodation, particularly from housing associations, the numbers are higher than pre-pandemic levels 
  • There were 13,192 households containing 7,510 children in temporary accommodation at the end of September 2021.  While this is 7% lower than the same time in 2020, this is still considerably higher than pre-pandemic levels.  Additionally, the numbers of households in temporary accommodation rose during the July to September 2021 quarter, the first-time numbers have increased since reaching a peak in September 2020. 

Scottish Parliament Debate

Prevention of Homelessness Duties

Live today, scheduled at 14.50-16.20 

Today, the Scottish Parliament will debate the joint Scottish Government and COSLA consultation on the Prevention of Homelessness Duties. This seeks to:

  • strengthen the rights of people experiencing, or at risk of experiencing, homelessness in Scotland.
  • support the principles as informed by the final report of the Prevention Review Group, which include a shared public responsibility to prevent homelessness.
  • note that the package of measures in the consultation includes the introduction of new legal duties on public bodies and landlords to “ask and act” on any risk of homelessness, changes to existing homelessness legislation to prioritise early intervention, and maximising the housing options available to people.
  • recognise that approaches to preventing homelessness should be person centred and trauma informed, and agrees that this approach will support the implementation of the human right of an adequate home for all.

Watch the debate live here on the Scottish Parliament website.

Want to know more?

Join us on Wednesday 23 February | 10am – 12pm

Join over 100 people registered to attend our free and online briefing and consultation on the new duties, including:

A full briefing on the scope and intention of the prevention duties.

Discussion and debate on the key principles and proposals.

This is a free event for Homeless Network Scotland members. Not a member? Join up here. 

Register now