PRESS RELEASE: Two Parliaments to End Homelessness

Thirty organisations in Scotland that care about homelessness, including charities, leading academics and people with lived experience, are today calling on political parties, MSPs and candidates in next year’s Scottish Parliament elections to get behind a ten-year plan to end homelessness.

As political parties finalise manifesto pledges and prospective candidates declare, this third Route Map to be published since the start of the pandemic by the Everyone Home Collective asks the Scottish Parliament to get behind five key asks in a 10-year commitment straddling two parliamentary terms.

The five key asks are:

• Prioritise prevention
• More homes
• End rough sleeping
• No evictions into homelessness
• Systems change


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

“Homelessness is not inevitable, or an unsolvable problem. The causes are predictable and we know who is most at risk – we can end homelessness in Scotland over two parliaments. Scotland already has a robust policy environment in place that we want to see strengthened and ramped up over the next decade to get everyone home.

“Sustaining the cross-party accord on tackling homelessness that underpins the current approach in Scotland, and continuing this into the next Parliament and beyond, would provide consistency and stability. It would enable everyone to build on progress so far and complete the infrastructure that will consign homelessness to history.”

Alison Watson, Shelter Scotland Director, said:

“Reducing affordable housing need must be a central ambition of the next Scottish Parliament. Delivering the social and affordable homes we need is the only way to tackle the root causes of rising homelessness, and it will help Scotland meet its climate targets and reduce poverty and inequality.

“Our next intake of MSPs have the power to achieve this, and it’s the single most important step they can take toward a safer, healthier, fairer future.”

Lorraine McGrath, CEO of Simon Community Scotland said:

“We have seen just how possible it is to reach, engage and resolve people’s experience of homelessness, even those facing the most extreme challenges, when the right combination of resources, partnership and the absolute will to make things happen combine. What was achieved for people experiencing rough sleeping in the early days of lockdown was remarkable, but not entirely unexpected, we have always known it was possible with the right conditions in place.

“That experience underpins this route map, making it a simple choice for our politicians.”

Janet Haugh, CEO of Ypeople, said:

“Last year Ypeople helped end homelessness for more than 3,000 people through accommodation services and community support. Since March, there has been a huge amount of work and unprecedented steps taken by local authorities and other organisations to make sure people can isolate safety during Covid-19. However, as we come through this pandemic, we risk a huge spike of people of all ages facing homelessness across Scotland.

“By working together, we can all play a role in rebuilding our local communities and end homelessness in Scotland for good.”


The 30 organisations in Everyone Home have written to all of Scotland’s political parties urging them to back the proposals contained in the latest Route Map and plan to meet their representatives in the coming weeks and months leading up to the election in May. View and download our Route Map for Scottish Parliament here.

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.

The event will take place on Microsoft Teams, so if you wish to join us please register here.

We hope to see you there!

Scotland: Have Your Say on Housing First

UPDATE: Consultation period has now ended.

A 90-page National Framework for Housing First in Scotland opened for consultation in November 2020. 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 draft National Framework for Housing First is available here.

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.