Aye We Can Update

Published:

GHN’s David and Jim reflect on #AyeWeCan so Far…

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Aye We Can is a 6 month collaboration to make sure the wit and wisdom of people with experience of homelessness shapes the recommendations to Scottish Ministers from the Homelessness & Rough Sleeping Action Group.

Today we visited the Housing Minister Kevin Stewart MSP to deliver the messages we’ve gathered over the last few months from 425 people across Scotland who are homeless today or have been recently.

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A big thanks to all of you for your time, advice and ideas. And for sharing your story so that homelessness and rough sleeping affects less people in the future. We’ve been impressed and inspired by you!

And thanks to the Minister for welcoming us. It was an early start to a very important day for us, and we felt listened to and assured that we can be a part of Scotland’s new plans to end homelessness.

Making sure the views of people with lived experience of homelessness inform this work has been an important priority for the Action Group from the very beginning. This work has been facilitated by GHN with support from Crisis and Scottish Government.

During December, 122 people with experience of homelessness took part in 5 Speakout events across the country – in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dumfries, Perth and Aberdeen. People discussed their own routes into homelessness, their experiences of using services, and their priorities for ending rough sleeping and homelessness in Scotland. You can read more about what people said here Aye We Can | December 2017 Report (PDF)

The focus shifted in January 2018 to offer a variety of opportunities for people to participate in their preferred way locally, with many taking part in small focus groups, in one-to-one interviews in person and on the phone, with some completing online surveys. We wanted to make sure that as well as bigger cities, people in smaller towns and rural areas also got to share their priorities for ending homelessness.

We have heard from people from all over Scotland – from Inverness, Oban, Shetland, Stirling, Falkirk – to Penicuik, Paisley, Irvine and Hamilton! We’ve also had the chance to learn more about the specific experiences and priorities of young people, women, people leaving prison, people with addictions, New Scots, people with ‘no recourse to public funds’ and many others who are particularly at risk of homelessness.

Your advice has directly shaped the 20 recommendations from the Action Group that Kevin Stewart agreed yesterday. We’re now preparing our final report to inform the next set of recommendations on temporary accommodation and ending homelessness in Scotland – so watch this space.

But so far people’s priorities have been clear.  If we are serious about ending rough sleeping in Scotland our key messages are:

  • Housing First and Fast: getting people their own home as quickly as possible. Most people don’t want to stay in ‘homeless’ accommodation – hostels and B&Bs are very unpopular;
  • Joined Up: the Council, NHS services and charities should work more closely together;
  • Staff Awareness: all staff should be decent, respectful and understand the background and often traumatic life experiences people have had;
  • Stop it: do more to prevent homelessness happening in the first place;
  • Count it: make sure rough sleeping and homelessness is monitored so that we know if it is reducing or not;
  • Collaborate with lived experience and make better use of peer-based approaches, learning directly from people with lived experience;
  • Be open: make sure the new £50m budget (over 5 years) to tackle homelessness is spent in a very open and honest way. People want to see a plan for that and also some feedback on how their advice and views are being taken forward.

 

People have told us that the idea of ending homelessness in Scotland has felt very distant, but that the work of the Action Group is making change feel possible.

There are a lot of people working very hard to not let you down. And there will also be different ways to keep collaborating with us so that you can be part of this change if you want to be. Stay in touch with David or Jim on 0141 420 7272 or email us at ayewecan@ghn.org.uk or follow us @GHNtweets or on Facebook