Scotland moves closer to ‘rapid rehousing’

Scottish Government publishes Ending Homelessness Together action plan.

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A shift towards rapid rehousing will see Scotland’s homeless housed in long-term and settled accommodation solutions that meet their needs as quickly as possible.

This is one of the key aims in the Ending Homelessness Together action plan published by the Scottish Government today (Nov 27), setting out measures for national and local government and the third sector which provides frontline services.

Those People living in temporary accommodation or at risk of homelessness are already being supported quickly into permanent homes through investment of £23.5m, which is part of Scotland’s £50m Ending Homelessness Together Fund.

Launching the plan, Communities Secretary Aileen Campbell said it honoured a commitment made by the The First Minister in this year’s Programme for Government to end rough sleeping and homelessness.

“This is what will get us there. The plan builds on the many changes in homelessness and affordable housing we have delivered in recent years, including more than £3bn to deliver 35,000 homes for social rent and the multi-million pound Ending Homelessness Together Fund,” she said.

A Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Action Group made 70 recommendations, all of which have  been accepted by the Scottish Government.

The Ending Homelessness Together Action Plan will focus on:

  • Providing a person centred approach to support individual needs
  • Putting prevention first, to minimise the risk of people becoming homeless
  • Prioritising the provision of settled and mainstreamed housing
  • Ensuring a quick and effective response by frontline workers
  • Joining up planning and resources

CIH President Jim Strang said the rising use of temporary accommodation was one of the biggest housing challenges facing Scotland today.

“However, if we are to move towards a Rapid Rehousing and Housing First approach and limit the use of temporary accommodation, it is vital that the Scottish Government keeps its focus on increasing the supply of new housing at or above existing rates across all tenures, while remaining committed to increasing affordable housing provision,” he said.

Strang also stressed recognition in the Action Plan for women and children fleeing domestic abuse – one of the leading causes of homelessness among women.

“We also want to see plans to support changes to the law to allow survivors, and not perpetrators, of domestic abuse to have a right to stay in their own home whenever possible and commit to the creation of a new Emergency Fund to ensure that survivors don’t fall into financial hardship as a result of domestic abuse.

“This would allow survivors of domestic abuse to rebuild their lives free from the threat of homelessness,” he said.

To SFHA Chief Executive Sally Thomas the plan is an “historic opportunity” boosting momentum across a range of sectors to tackle homelessness.

“We have the political will, we have funding available and we have key housing agencies in housing ready to deliver. There is an appetite to do better and move Scotland towards a fairer, more equal society,” she said.

COSLA Community Wellbeing spokesperson Cllr Elena Whitham said a continued focus on services being joined up remains critical.

“I know Councils and our partners across the various sectors are committed to delivering on the actions contained within this plan,” she said.

Acknowledging the plan as ambitious, Jon Sparkes, Chief Executive of Crisis, said Scotland was “firmly positioned” as a world-leader in ending homelessness.

“The turnaround has been swift, and the approach is bold but achievable if the commitment is shared across local government, housing associations and homelessness charities,” said Sparkes.

“Overall, this this plan presents a chance to get behind bold and transformative reforms,  but also to look beyond homelessness into the wider systemic issues of inequality and poverty to bring an end to the injustice of homelessness in Scotland once and for all,” he said.

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