Are you All In For Change?

All in for Change (AIFC) is a programme led by a ‘Change Team’ who each have personal experience of homelessness and together are committed to ending it. As part of a National Conversation starting today the Change Team are speaking to, and learning from, people who see first-hand how policy and operational decisions affect real lives. The responses received will inform future conversations, both internally and when speaking with decision makers.

Jade Wallace has been part of the AIFC programme since it started, and said:

“At times, change can seem slow, and I think it is important to reflect and remind ourselves that slowly but surely a difference is being made.

“For so long homelessness has been viewed as solely a housing issue and I think this is a great opportunity to engage with and inform as many people as possible, to hear different experiences, viewpoints and share what we know works.”

The Change Team was established in late 2019 and they have contributed directly to decision making with a permanent presence at Scotland’s Homelessness Prevention & Strategy Group (HPSG). There are four New Directions that guide the team’s work. These reflect Scotland’s high level Ending Homelessness Together Plan, and they are People First; No Wrong Door; At Home; Good Vibes.

Taking these four New Directions as a guide the team are asking the following questions.

  • Has progress been made in achieving these?
  • If so, where and how are they being achieved?
  • If not, in what ways could they be achieved?
  • What gets in the way of them being achieved?

Jade Wallace added:

“The New Direction I like best is ‘At Home’. I truly believe that settled, secure, mainstream housing provided quickly is the best possible solution for people experiencing homelessness. I fully support the Housing First model, and I have seen first-hand the multiple benefits of ensuring people are provided with a secure home when they need it.”

The quickest way to get involved in the National Conversation is to complete the quick online survey, adding your experiences to our growing knowledge base, or even sharing the link with someone else. Other ways to take part are by downloading our conversation starter and having a chat with someone you work with, or support, and by joining a workshop led by the Change Team and talking with others to help grow change.

The Change Team are supported by partner organisations, Cyrenians, Frontline Network, Homeless Network Scotland and the Scottish Community Development Centre (SCDC) and is represented on the Scottish Government’s Homelessness Prevention & Strategy Group (HPSG).

For more information visit the All In For Change page.

Housing First branches out from April

Doug Gibson has been involved in the adoption and scaling up of Housing First through his role as programme manager for the Housing First Pathfinder. As the approach extends across most council areas in Scotland starting from this week, he considers how it could help end large scale homelessness for good.

When I visited Finland in early 2020, I was struck by the confidence and pragmatism of this small nation, the only European country where homelessness is falling. It’s hardly surprising that the policy underpinning that success, Housing First, has more and more fans here in Scotland where the policy is well established, and also in the other GB nations and regions.

For decades the problem was viewed as intractable, a stubborn feature of metropolitan life in cities around the world, including those in the richest countries like ours. In attempting to resolve homelessness all manner of schemes and solution were broached and implemented, short of providing people with a home. The alternate approach of the Fins is simple. In 2007 they adopted Housing First as the anchor for a wider political vision to address the toughest experiences of homelessness as part of a rapid rehousing approach.

Finland ‘s enviable record since can be actively attributed to their adoption of the Housing First model, a system pioneered in the USA that is evidence based, compassionate and abandons notions of blame or deserving.  There is now an overwhelming body of international evidence showing that, with close fidelity to the Housing First principles, most tenants are likely to stay housed – and feel benefit in many other ways too.

In Scotland’s Housing First Pathfinder, which operates across five areas, the approach has delivered 87 percent housing retention rates in the first two years of the programme. This statistic – up there with the best international comparisons – tees up a range of benefits for both individuals and society as we begin to mainstream the policy across the country in this, the third and final year of the Pathfinder.

It improves health outcomes and decreases contact with community justice, in turn reducing A&E admissions and improving cost-effectiveness of service delivery. It is replacing chaos with support and temporary accommodation with permanent and there have been no evictions out of more than 450 tenancies created.

Many people who have taken up a tenancy through the programme have typically struggled in life, following adverse childhood experiences, negotiating multiple challenges and obstacles along the way such as trauma, addiction, poor mental health or physical disability and other forms of severe multiple disadvantage.

Estimates suggest that more than 800,000 adults in Scotland have experienced all three of the indicators of severe multiple disadvantage: homelessness, substance dependency and offending. Homelessness is the most common of these when viewed over an adult’s lifetime and a study for the Scottish Government in 2018 states that at least eight percent of the Scottish population had experienced homelessness at some point in their lives. When you consider this percentage also represents the entire population of Scotland within the UK, it is clear why the issue matters to us all.

If finding answers to society’s toughest problems is the prize then Housing First is an attractive, integrated solution. In recent years in Scotland, more so since the pandemic began, resolving homelessness has resulted in regular co-operation and an acknowledgment that solving this problem is not impossible, but will take time. We must trust the evidence that says if we stay the course Scotland could be the other country in Europe where homelessness is falling.

Glasgow Alliance to End Homelessness

Coproduction workshops on Tuesday 11th & Wednesday 12th May 2021

The Alliance recognises that to achieve systems change and transform the lives of people experiencing homelessness in Glasgow we’ll need the skills, experience and knowledge of all our partners across the City.

The award of services is now one of the key responsibilities of the Alliance. This is a crucial element of the foundations that will enable the Alliance to meet its core mission of making sure that the right service is available at the right time to meet current and emerging needs.

We invite you to bring your skills, knowledge and experience to a coproduction workshop to help us develop a strategy for the award of services that the Alliance will implement.

The workshop will outline the Alliance’s vision for a new system with opportunities to discuss how we bring this vision to life in a way that is best for people using services.

We want to hear from people at all levels of your organisation to make sure that we capture the learning from everyone’s perspectives. With that in mind, we’d appreciate your help to make sure that we have representation from people being supported by your services, your organisation’s front line, operational management and senior management at the events.

We have created a short survey which we would ask you to complete prior to the workshops. Please share this with your colleagues and people using your service. We ask that this is completed by 5pm on Friday 23 April 2021 and you can find the survey here https://allin.limequery.com/946851

The dates of the workshops are:

  • Tuesday 11th May- 10am – 1pm – Lived and living experience
  • Wednesday 12th May – 10am – 1pm – All providers of homelessness services

People with lived or living experience who attend the workshop on Tuesday 11h May will receive a £10 incentive.

This invite is open to everyone with lived or living experience, front line staff, operational managers and directors so please share this invitation widely across your organisation. Places are limited at each workshop and we ask that you have no more than three representatives from across your organisation. 

To book your place, please click here:

  • Tuesday 11th May- 10am – 1pm – Lived and living experience Click Here to Book
  • Wednesday 12th May – 10am – 1pm  – All Providers of homelessness services Click Here to Book

Please contact Andrew McCall if you require further information: Andrew.McCall@salvationarmy.org.uk

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

People who do not have a settled address or are experiencing homelessness can register to vote in the Scottish Parliament election on 6 May. The deadline to apply for a postal vote (including postal proxy vote) is 5pm on Tuesday 6 April. Anyone who wants to vote in person must ensure they register by midnight on Monday 19 April. The deadline to apply for an ‘in person’ proxy vote is 5pm on Tuesday 27 April.

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.

Universal credit report links benefit to homelessness

The Scottish Government has published a report that highlights what it believes are correlations between homelessness and the roll out of Universal Credit (UC). The analysis is important because in January 2020 there were around 240,000 people claiming UC in Scotland, which had risen to 480,000 by January this year according to the data contained in the report.

If the Benefit is contributing to an increased risk of homelessness then the large rise in claimants could track an increase in homelessness in the future, particularly once emergency Covid-19 support currently in place comes to an end or is withdrawn. For example, the current £20-a-week Universal Credit uplift, originally due to finish in April but extended until the end of September in the recent UK Budget.

The report outlines that homelessness rates in Scotland have slightly increased since 2015, coinciding with the rollout of Universal Credit since 2013. Mental health has grown as a reason for homelessness over that period, while homeless households and households affected by the five-week wait tend to be similar in composition. The report also identifies what it frames as a statistically significant correlation between UC sanctions and homelessness across local authorities in Scotland.

The report concludes: “Amid broader debates on the future of UC, it is therefore crucial that the impacts on homelessness are recognised and addressed.”