Housing first gathers pace in Scotland

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Scotland could be free from the most visible and acute forms of homelessness within three years – this is the aim of the Housing First Pathfinder, a Scottish Government backed programme that officially ramps up today in five cities, Aberdeen/shire, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Stirling.

It is joint-funded by partners including the Scottish Government, The Merchants House of Glasgow, and Social Bite, which runs the Sleep In The Park events.

Housing First provides mainstream housing with wrap-around support as a first response rather than the final step in a long process. It is proven to be a better and more lasting response for people with experiences such as trauma, abuse, addictions and mental ill health. The target is to house 830 people by the end of the Pathfinder programme, and the remaining 27 Scottish councils are shaping up their plans to deliver Housing First in their areas.

The Housing First Pathfinder has been building networks and getting systems in place over the past nine months, with over 50 people already housed through the programme in this warm up phase.

Mick Wright, one of these new tenants, said:

“All I can say about Housing First is, it works. Of the guys I knew from the hostel who got a flat, none of them have failed, not one has gone back to being homeless. It’s meant that I can have my kid round and we have a proper relationship. It’s just normal, making a cup of tea or waking up in my own bed – for all this I’m very grateful.”

Housing Minister, Kevin Stewart said:

“We want to ensure everyone has a safe, warm place they can call home.  Our Ending Homelessness Together Action Plan sets out how we are working with partners to prevent homelessness and address people’s needs quickly when homelessness does occur.  This includes a shift towards a system of rapid rehousing and delivery of the Housing First approach for people with more complex needs.  We are currently working with local authorities to finalise 32 Rapid Rehousing Transition Plans so that we can begin to invest £23.5 million allocated to this, deliver lasting change on the ground and ensure better outcomes for people facing the blight of homelessness.”

Maggie Brunjes, Chief Executive of The Homeless Network, which manages the Pathfinder, said:

“We are so proud to be part of making Housing First a reality in Scotland, and full of admiration for our partners who are helping to bring about a lasting change. Everyone needs a home, and those that have braved the biggest challenges – and been most disadvantaged by the conditions that create homelessness – need housing first and fast.  This is a game-changer, a radical and totally new approach to homelessness in Scotland that is a caring and respectful response we can be proud of.”

Josh Littlejohn, Social Bite Co-Founder, said: “Housing First is a truly transformative programme that provides a human-centred, kind and compassionate response to the systemic issue of homelessness. We are incredibly proud of our partners who are pioneering positive change. A huge thank you also goes to the thousands of people who have made this possible by taking part in Sleep in the Park, raising funds and the consciousness of the nation.”

Carolyn Sawers, Deputy CEO, Corra Foundation said: “It’s a privilege to be involved in delivering the Housing First Pathfinder, managing the funds on behalf of the Scottish Government, Social Bite and The Merchants House of Glasgow. It will make a real difference to people in the immediate future, as well as having a lasting impact on the way people experiencing homelessness are supported.”

Scotland has become only the third country in the world to fully implement this radical approach to homelessness, proven to be successful in Finland, the only European country where homelessness is falling according to a report released this week by FEANTSA, the body that monitors homelessness across Europe.

Glasgow launches alternative giving scheme

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The Street Change Glasgow scheme, managed by Glasgow City Council, will allow members of the public to pay into a fund providing practical help as an alternative to handing cash to the increasing numbers of vulnerable people begging on the city’s streets.

In response to concerns around the wellbeing and safety of people engaging in begging, coupled with concerns from businesses in the City Centre, the Begging Strategy Group visited other cities in the UK, including Manchester and Liverpool to observe their schemes and evaluate what options would be most suitable for Glasgow.

Third Sector partners have been involved in initiating the scheme as well as The Big Issue, Glasgow Chamber of Commerce and Police Scotland.

More information is available here.

‘Big lottery’ review deadline 29 March 2019

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If your organisation is working to address homelessness and related issues in any part of Scotland funding is available from The National Lottery Community Fund (formerly The Big Lottery Fund). Exclusive funding is available for projects in Edinburgh and Glasgow following stakeholder sessions and lived experience workshops to gain insight into where the Lottery can have most impact. More information is available here.

  • March 29 – deadline for all applications to be submitted
  • April – assessment
  • May – all decisions made

Housing First Update

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Desperate to find out how Housing First is being ramped up across Scotland? The brand-new monthly tracker is now available to view here .  This update from GHN will provide details of tenancies, progress towards targets and other information that’s available to share. More on Housing First in this blog by Claire Frew, our Policy and Impact Manager.

Some key points highlighted in the latest Housing First Scotland tracker are:

  • The number of new Housing First tenancies started during January 2019 was 10, bringing the total number of tenancies to 39.
  • For tenancies beginning in January 2019 the average length of time before moving in was 51 days, with the average time for the programme to date is 47 days.
  • The number of tenancies sustained so far is 39 – 100% of the total tenancies started.
  • No tenancies have been ended so far as a result of eviction, abandonment or planned move and so there have been no subsequent homelessness applications made because of someone leaving their Housing First tenancy.

For Pathfinders and leaders the next Housing First Connect invite event will be held at Dundee Discovery Point, Riverside Drive DD1 4XA on 27 March. If you, or your organisation, have a significant stake in the implementation of Housing First in Scotland and would like to attend please get in touch to check availability. Attendance is subject to places being available for this popular event. Telephone 0141 420 7272 or E-mail: housingfirstscot@ghn.org.uk

Not just PIE in the sky

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An influential body representing Scottish Universities has highlighted the vital role of PIE (psychologically informed environments) in bringing about harm reduction, plus the benefits of connecting with lived-experience to better understand and address homelessness, health and harm reduction. In a report that draws together learning from three events, 10 recommendations lay out the most significant insight to come from the events, including that staff should be provided with training and support to enable psychologically informed care. It also highlights the need to challenge negative stereotypes in the news and on social media. For more information >>

 

The Scottish government recognises that everyone should have a secure warm place to call home – citing this as one of the most important factors in any person’s quality of life. Their Ending Homelessness Together Action Plan sets the direction and as part of this, they have just launched a consultation on the current local connection and intentionality provisions in the Homelessness etc. (Scotland) Act 2003. The Government wants to hear your views on these issues to break down any barriers that stop people from accessing the accommodation and support they need, when and where it’s needed.

Mears Group has been awarded the new contract by the Home Office for providing accommodation and support for people seeking refugee protection in Scotland. Following the announcement at the beginning of the year, agencies across the country expressed their views on how people involved in the asylum process should be treated, and the Scottish Refugee Council set out “five asks” of Mears Group.

  1. Understand that providing “asylum accommodation” is delivering an essential public service
  2. Ensure the dignity of the person is at the centre of this service
  3. Support and enable people to access their rights within the asylum system
  4. Work in partnership with local services, communities and councils
  5. Agree a process of property inspections with local authorities.

Maggie Brunjes, Chief Executive of the Homeless Network said: “We’ve worked with the North Glasgow Integration Network and asylum seekers as part the Keys to Learn programme, and also with other individuals during the Scotland-wide ‘Aye We Can’ consultation for the Housing and Rough Sleeping Action Group. Their voices are often unheard in the competition for the public’s attention, but Scotland has a strong record of supporting those seeking asylum and we support the Scottish Refugee Council’s position.”

CAP newsletter

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The Community Activist Panel is made up of people from across the city and is hosted by our staff. It supports the work of Glasgow City Council’s Poverty Leadership Panel, which includes agencies such as The Federation of Small Business, The Poverty Alliance and Glasgow City Council.  The members of CAP have each experienced poverty, and, in many cases, their daily lives are affected by carer responsibilities, mobility issues, benefits and housing concerns.  These 15 people meet to discuss the issues that are driving poverty in their communities, and how, together, Glasgow can address them.

The spring edition of the CAP newsletter, with latest updates of how to get involved, will be published week beginning 25 February and will be available here along with previous issues.

The next event of the Participation Network, designed to give people the skills to get more involved in their own local and sector networks, is on Saturday 30th of March. For people who want to get more involved in their communities or take part in debate and action on single issues, it aims to:

  • develop new skills in areas such as participation, coproduction, facilitation, presentation skills and conflict resolution
  • amplify and champion the participation work of each individual organisation and participation group
  • tackle ‘hot topics’ and intersecting themes as a group
  • develop new friends and opportunities for networking
  • inform a series of principles, values and guidelines for participation practice.

The agenda is created and driven by people working in community support, young people learning new skills and those with lived experience. It is organised and run by CELCIS, a team based at Strathclyde University dedicated to making positive and lasting improvements in the wellbeing of children and young people living in and on the edges of care, and their families, across the whole country and wider.

The Network is free to join – If you’d like to sign up or just find out more then get in touch with Paul Sullivan, Sector Engagement Lead at CELCIS, at p.sullivan@strath.ac.uk / 07970 506 929.

No such thing as a free breakfast? Think again

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Everyone is welcome to come along to brand new free Community Breakfast’s in Parkhead, Dalmarnock and Barrowfield as part of the Glasgow East ‘Thriving Places’ from Glasgow Health and Social Care Partnership. The next event is 14 March at Barrowfield Community Centre.

Thriving Places, is about bringing people together to help improve a local area. This means building stronger links between different community groups, services and organisations. They want to speak to you about your local area and hear your opinions on health and wellbeing, safety, housing and income / money. The next date after that is 22nd March at The Legacy Hub.

For more information go to www.westscot.co.uk or contact the team at:

Meabh Bradley (Community Connector)
Email: meabh.bradley@westscot.co.uk
Telephone: 0776496 9429

Sean Ewart (Community Worker)
Email: sean.ewart@westscot.co.uk
Telephone: 07880711037

Colette McLure (Community Worker)
Email: colette.mclure@westscot.co.uk
Telephone: 07827341974