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Still time to register for roundtable on National Framework for Housing First in Scotland

10 December, 10:30-11:30.

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There is still time to register for the 10 December roundtable, hosted SFHA and Homeless Network Scotland (HNS), to feed into the consultation on the National Framework for Housing First.

Participating in the virtual roundtable, hosted on Microsoft Teams, will be HNS Chief Executive Maggie Brunjes, and HNS Policy and Impact Manager Claire Frew, who was recently made an Honorary Research Fellow by Heriot Watt University’s Institute for Social Policy, Housing, Equalities Research (I-SPHERE).

A new, 90-page National Framework for Housing First in Scotland has opened for consultation. It is a ‘how to and why’ professional guide, setting out what each partner brings, and what each will need in order to make Housing First a success in all parts of the country from 2021.

Housing First provides ordinary, settled housing as a first response to redress the disadvantages faced by people whose homelessness is made harder by longer-term experiences such as trauma and addiction. The evidence base for Housing First is far stronger than for any other intervention for a group of people who have traditionally been poorly served by what is available to them.

Pathfinders in Aberdeen/shire, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Stirling launched fully in 2019. These local partnerships were tasked with exposing the challenges and difficulties encountered in scaling up Housing First across a local authority area, and to share that learning.

Homeless Network Scotland has drafted the Framework, with support from expert advisors from across national and local government, housing and support providers and the Pathfinders.

Maggie Brünjes said: “Scotland is on a mission to scale up Housing First. It has cross-party support and a pathfinder that has been guided expertly by the Scottish Government, councils and local providers. With scrutiny of local systems and processes by different sectors working in partnership, more people are being housed and supported more quickly.”

“What has been achieved in Scotland is viewed as pace-setting by international colleagues – but it wasn’t easy and this is just the start. If we really mean business it calls for a 10-year vision from politicians, housing providers and support services – an enduring commitment to create the right conditions for Housing First to flourish. This means the right investment, access to housing and delivered in a joined-up way with broader health and social care partnerships.”

International experience highlights Housing First as a catalyst for broader improvements in local housing and homelessness systems and this has been the early experience of the Housing First Pathfinders. Around 90% of tenants remain in their homes and a growing number are celebrating two years or more at home, with no evictions from the programme.

The National Framework draws from that learning and is designed for all organisations and sectors starting or scaling up Housing First in Scotland. It sets out the context in which the approach can be successfully delivered, and should act as a guide to planning, commissioning and implementing the approach. Importantly, section seven provides a ‘Live Status Report’, which will monitor progress toward achieving the right conditions for Housing First to be scaled up right across Scotland, in line with local need.

Maggie Brünjes added: “This is a national challenge to redress the unfairness experienced by people whose homelessness is made harder by experiences such as trauma, addictions and mental ill-health.

"Each partner brings something unique – but also has a set of expectations of what they need in place to enable them to deliver. We want to hear from all individuals and organisations that have an interest in Housing First or a role in delivering it.”

SFHA will host the webinar with Homeless Network Scotland on Thursday,10 December as part of the consultation process. You can book your place via the SFHA website.

The National Framework for Housing First is available here and the link to the consultation survey questions are here. The deadline for consultation submissions is 31 December 2020.

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