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Head of Policy and Equalities

SCP 51-53 (£50,704 – £53,088) | 35 hours, Monday to Friday

A challenging job, competitive terms and conditions – and a great place to work.

Join our team.

Full recruitment pack can be downloaded from our website:

For more information about the role, the application pack or process, please contact Janice Higgins, Head of Corporate Services on 0141 420 7272 or email

Closing date: 5pm Friday 13 August 2021

Homelessness in Scotland: 2020-21 statistics

Released today Tuesday 29 June, findings for that period show:

  • There were 33,792 applications for homelessness assistance – a decrease of 3,251 (9%) compared with 2019/20
  • There were 27,571 households assessed as homeless or threatened with homelessness – a decrease of 4,010 (13%) compared to 2019/20
  • While the number of applications fell, there was also a reduction in the number of cases closed. As a result, the number of open homelessness cases at 31 March 2021 reached 25,226, a 10% increase compared to 31 March 2020. This peaked at 27,058 as at 30 September 2020
  • There were 13,097 households in temporary accommodation at 31 March 2021 – a 12% increase compared to 11,665 at 31 March 2020. This reached a peak of 14,151 at 30 September 2020
  • The most common reasons for making an application were ‘Asked to leave’ (27% vs 24% the previous year), ‘Dispute within the household / relationship: non-violent (22% vs 19% the previous year) and ‘Dispute within the household: violent or abusive’ (14% vs 13% the previous year)
  • There was a notable decrease in households becoming homeless from a private rented tenancy – a drop of 2,161 (42%) from 5,145 to 2,984. 11% of households assessed as homeless in this period gave this as their previous accommodation type, compared to 16% in the same period in 2020. This may be due to a reduction in the number of evictions due to emergency coronavirus legislation temporarily extending eviction notice periods
  • There was a 44% reduction in households assessed as homeless in Edinburgh in 2020/21 compared to 2019/20, from 3,402 to 1,912. This was largely due to a 67% reduction from a private rented tenancy (264 in 2020/21 compared to 802 in 2019/20) compared to 42% nationally. In addition, Edinburgh also experienced a decrease of those becoming homeless from either ‘parental / family home / relatives’ or ‘friends / partners’ of 35% (from 1,532 to 1,002) compared to a national increase of 7%
  • Homelessness applications that closed in 2020/21 that used temporary accommodation spent 199 days in temporary accommodation on average.  This increased from 187 days the previous year
  • There were 605 cases of households not being offered temporary accommodation in 2020/21 – a fall of 87% (from 4,590) compared to last year. 525 of these were in Edinburgh
  • 80% of homeless households (18,313 out of 22,967) secured settled accommodation in 2020/21, increasing from 64% in 2002/03, and a drop from 83% last year
  • It took 248 days on average from assessment to closure in 2020/21 for cases assessed as homeless – an increase from 225 in 2019/20
  • 58% of main applicants were male; 62% were aged 25-49; 70% were single person households; and 87% were of White ethnicity

Full report can be read here:

New roles ramp up Lived Experience to resolve Homelessness

During a question & answer session at the Homeless Network Scotland conference in March then Housing Minister, Kevin Stewart MSP, was asked what made Scotland’s response to homelessness different. The Minister’s response was instantaneous – ‘People’.

Among the most active independent people working to ensure the right solutions are put in place has been the Change Team. Collectively, team members form All In For Change, a group comprising individuals working in the sector along with those who have their own lived experience of being homeless, drawn from across Scotland. This unique arrangement means the big issues can be viewed from multiple perspectives at the same time and in the same space. The kaleidoscope of views and opinions this process cultivates makes sure those who know the answers are helping to shape solutions. Homeless Network Scotland created this platform for people in partnership with Cyrenians and Scottish Community Development Centre.

The Change Team are experts in what homelessness looks like on the ground for those most affected by it, which is why they have a seat at the table on the Homelessness Prevention and Strategy Group. The combination of practical and professional experience has been valuable in helping to shape important work taking place under pressure during the pandemic. Members have also contributed to longer term decision making and policy setting in connection to the work of the Everyone Home Collective and the Prevention Review Group, which reported in the spring.

Building from the impact All In For Change has had during the past 18 months, the Scottish Government committed in the Housing to 2040 paper to create an exciting opportunity for one person with current or previous experience of homelessness to join its Homelessness Unit on secondment for up to two years. The post is called a ‘Policy Officer’ and is a full-time, paid position. Applications close this Sunday 20 June at 4pm.

The post holder will work with colleagues across the Homelessness Unit and with the Change Team to deliver commitments in the Ending Homelessness Together action plan, such as preventing homelessness from happening in the first place, improving temporary accommodation standards, supporting the shift to rapid rehousing and understanding housing affordability.

The Change Team will continue to play a major part in helping to shape homelessness policy and practice, including the Scottish Government’s updated Ending Homelessness Together Action Plan. With this in mind, the team is looking to expand and in addition to the opportunity above is recruiting for people with lived experience to take forward this important agenda as a Change Team member.

The team use clear language and an open working approach to bridge the gap between decision makers, people working in services and people making use of services as part of a joined-up drive to end homelessness in Scotland.

Change Leads with experience of homelessness are paid at Real Living Wage of £9.50 per hour for work carried out on behalf of All In For Change, around two hours per week is invited. Click here for details and to apply. The Scottish Government role is a paid, full time secondment of 37 hours per week. For further information about that post, please contact Janice Higgins at Homeless Network Scotland on and email completed applications to Janice by 4pm on Sunday 20 June 2021 – the application closing date for both roles.