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SFHA and HNS renew partnership agreement

By Eileen McMullan, SFHA Policy Lead, and Maggie Brünjes, Chief Executive of Homeless Network Scotland.

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Following a successful first year, SFHA and Homeless Network Scotland (HNS) have announced that we have renewed our strategic partnership. Together, we will continue to strengthen and support the social housing sector’s role in preventing and ending homelessness.

The pandemic created unprecedented challenges for social landlords, tenants and prospective tenants on waiting lists, in insecure housing or with no housing at all. It also highlighted the importance of home and community and its links to good health.

Temporary measures during this period were successful in providing a layer of protection for social housing tenants and for people trying to secure a settled home. However, uncertainty remains about what the next year holds for people already in the homelessness system and those at new risk of homelessness due to the conditions created by the pandemic.

The Scottish Government’s Housing to 2040 strategy set out its long-term vision for housing, and, if implemented, it could have a positive impact on homelessness, and the stronger focus on prevention, set out in the joint Scottish Government and COSLA Ending Homelessness Together Action Plan, will have practical implications for RSLs. SFHA and HNS will inform, and consult with, members on this key policy area, and, during the second year of this partnership agreement, will:

  • work together on behalf of members to support the implementation of the Scottish Government’s commitments in Housing to 2040
  • draw out, and share, learning from SFHA Homelessness Prevention Fund, the Scottish Government-funded test of change projects
  • support housing providers to implement Branching Out, the national framework to scale up Housing First in Scotland
  • commission research and the development of a toolkit to support the social housing sector to prevent homelessness and evictions in Scotland
  • support SFHA members to contribute to accommodation pathways for Fair Way Scotland – a delivery plan to design out destitution among people with no recourse to public funds.
  • provide quarterly briefings for SFHA members on homelessness policy and practice.

As part of our work, we are pleased to announce that SFHA and HNS, in partnership with ALACHO, Crisis and the Simon Community Scotland, have commissioned Neil Morland Consultants to undertake a research project and make recommendations on protecting homes and preventing eviction. The project will also provide social landlords with a practical resource which highlights good practice to support them in their work to protect homes, prevent eviction and prevent homelessness in Scotland.

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