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SFHA Scottish Parliament Homelessness Submission

SFHA took the opportunity to respond to the Local Government and Communities Committee request for evidence on Homelessness.

SFHA took the opportunity to respond to the Local Government and Communities Committee request for evidence on Homelessness.  The committee undertook fact-finding visits earlier this year and are keen to examine homelessness prevention and the effectiveness of the Housing Options approach.

The SFHA submission stressed the need to retain a focus on implementing the target of 50,000 affordable homes as an important part of the solution to tackling homelessness and set out the range of work being carried out by SFHA members to help prevent tenants become homeless, as well as providing new tenancies for people who have been homeless.

SFHA highlighted the need for investment in the range and accessibility of stock available to meet the wider range of social and health needs of tenants and the funding to retain that stock going forward.

SFHA also welcomed the committee’s focus on prevention and highlighted the work of members in supporting tenants with financial advice and support, working to ensure they receive benefits they are entitled to and assisting with wider community support, whether run by the association themselves or through referrals to other local support networks.

SFHA further highlighted both the financial benefit to tenants of members’ work and the wider savings to the NHS of sustaining tenancies.  A key concern highlighted was the impact of welfare changes such as the implementation of Universal Credit, the restriction of entitlement to support with housing costs for 180-21 year olds, the LHA cap and benefit cap reductions which are undermining tenant incomes and their ability to pay their rents. 

Recent SFHA staff visits to members have highlighted the range and quality of tenancy sustainment work being carried out by SFHA members.   The SFHA recently joined with other Shelter and other stakeholders to support the call on the Scottish Government to produce a strategy on homelessness under the headline “Homelessness: Not Yet Fixed”.

Given the political salience of homelessness and the upcoming Parliamentary summer recess there is an opportunity for SFHA members to make contact with parliamentarians to enable them to see for themselves the range of work being carried out in communities, and to understand the challenges members face in playing a full part in supporting people who have been homeless or at risk of losing their tenancy. 

You can read our submission here

You can see the range of submissions at:

http://www.parliament.scot/parliamentarybusiness/CurrentCommittees/104826.aspx

For more information and to offer any additional comments on best practice that you want to make SFHA aware of, please get in touch with Sarah Boyack Head of Public Affairs at SFHA at sboyack@sfha.co.uk or call 0141 567 8113.