A busy first half of 2021 for Homeless Network Scotland included hosting the sector’s largest gatherings online, expansion of All In For Change – Scotland’s lived experience experts – and consolidation of the Everyone Home Collective, which now includes more than 30 third sector and academic organisations concerned about homelessness.
Homeless Network Scotland is a knowledge-based membership organisation. As a network, it creates opportunities to connect, learn and act on homelessness to end it for good. The organisation’s latest Impact Report sets out it’s work in the first half of this year. Priority issues in the report include what’s needed to end destitution among people with no recourse to public funds; the future role of supported housing as part of our homelessness response; taking a place-based approach to preventing homelessness and supporting Scotland to scale up Housing First.
Maggie Brünjes, Chief Executive of Homeless Network Scotland, said:
“During the first half of this year it has been our privilege to be a support-act for a remarkable sector that has continued to mitigate the impacts of the pandemic on people, including enabling a successful vaccination roll-out programme across services. And to provide a platform for people who can draw on their first-hand experience of homelessness to advise on what works, what really matters and what happens next.”
Important highlights in the first half of the year included:
- Building on the success of last year’s Staying In fund, when they distributed £100,000 directly to 1,000 people experiencing homelessness, Homeless Network Scotland worked with the Scottish Government homelessness unit to get cash directly into the hands of people living in temporary accommodation through a £50,000 winter support fund.
- 400 people registered for the Branching Out conference in March. Over 100 people took part in two online Members Events, one focused on preventing a return to rough sleeping and the other considering the future of supported housing.
- Following the publication of the Everyone Home Collective’s route map on ending destitution and protecting human rights, Homeless Network Scotland has worked with key partners to design a new gateway to a safe destination, support and advice for people with no recourse to public funds, preparing to launch later this year.
- Publication of the National Housing First Framework, a blueprint for all areas starting up or scaling up Housing First in Scotland. In the transition from year two to year three of Scotland’s Housing First Pathfinder 129 people moved into their own Housing First tenancy between January and June 2021, a 54% increase compared to the same period in 2020. Prior to the Scottish elections, Homelessness Network Scotland worked with partners and politicians to secure cross-party support for Housing First in the new parliament.
- Expansion of All In For Change with recruitment of an additional 14 Change Leads. The Change Team all have lived and frontline experience of homelessness and are contributing to the updated Ending Homelessness Together Action Plan following the new recommendations from the reconvened Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Action Group, bridging the gap between policy and action on the ground.
- Launch of The Learning Lounge, a specially curated programme of learning and training events for organisations across Scotland. This programme reached three-times as many people than the same period last year, with 135 people from 56 organisations attending 11 courses covering six key topics.
Homeless Network Scotland has just announced dates for its autumn conference from 5-7 October 2021 based around the theme of choice. The Conference will consider what it will take to ensure that people facing homelessness have choice and real options. More details will be available in the coming weeks.