Our Next Event: Housing First Scotland Annual Conference

7th May 2020 – Edinburgh International Conference Centre

100th home handed over to Housing First Scotland Pathfinder by Wheatley Group


Wheatley Group, Scotland’s leading housing, property management and care organisation, has handed over its 100th home to the Housing First Scotland Pathfinder programme.

Wheatley pledged up to 200 homes to the partnership in December 2018, following a Sleep in the Park fundraiser organised by Social Bite. Wheatley also give all new Housing First tenants a starter pack that can include food, bedding and recycled furniture. One of the people who has been housed through Housing First is William, who is now a GHA tenant in Glasgow.

William said: “Since moving in here I have come on leaps and bounds. It feels a lot better to have a home. My housing officer, Tiffany, is there for me. I was given the things I needed when I moved in. Having my own front door is a good feeling. I feel safe.”

The Housing First Pathfinder programme in Scotland, which is running in Aberdeen/shire, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Stirling, is supported by the Scottish Government, Social Bite and Merchants House Glasgow, with funding co-ordinated by Corra Foundation.

Social Bite founder Josh Littlejohn said: “Wheatley were the first organisation to pledge properties when we began this Housing First programme, so I’m delighted to see their progress. I’m amazed and humbled to see the difference it has made to people like William. Thank you to all the partners who are working together on our eventual goal of eradicating homelessness in Scotland”.

Picture L to R – Josh Littlejohn (Social Bite) William (Housing First tenant), Olga Clayton (Wheatley Group)

International reaction as Housing First in Scotland passes milestone


A monitoring report released today (Tuesday 19 November) shows that Scotland’s Housing First Pathfinder has created more than 150 tenancies. Each represents an opportunity for someone to end their homelessness and receive support and encouragement to build and live their lives.

Housing First provides ordinary, settled housing as a first response for people whose homelessness is compounded by other disadvantages and experiences. The Housing First Scotland Pathfinder is a three-year programme launched in April 2019 with the target of creating 830 tenancies. It is the largest of its kind in the UK and the latest 150-tenancy milestone has been praised by US psychologist, Dr Sam Tsemberis, who pioneered the approach in New York during the early 1990s.

Dr Sam Tsemberis
CEO of Pathways to Housing, said:

“What’s happening in Scotland should inspire everyone involved in Housing First projects across Europe. More than 150 people have received a home of their own and that speaks to the commitment of the Housing First Scotland initiative, now well on their way to establish Housing First as the best response for the most vulnerable.  When I visited in May to participate in the Housing First conference in Edinburgh, I was very impressed by the determination of those I met to make sure this programme succeeds go Scotland!”

The Pathfinder launched officially on 1 April 2019 supported by housing providers across the country with Wheatley Group leading, and with funding from the Scottish Government, Social Bite and Merchants House Glasgow.

A source of inspiration for many, Finland is the only European country where homelessness is falling. Juha Kaakinen has been heavily involved in Finland’s national Housing First programme, and says:

“The Housing First model in Finland is based on understanding homelessness extensively and in detail. We learned that it should not only apply to sleeping rough but also sofa-surfing and hidden forms of homelessness. Nor can it be stopped by housing departments or charities alone – all parts of the system must be on board. Scotland has also recognised this, which is one reason why you are so far ahead so quickly. Stay focused on the goal and I know your programme will continue to report increasing participation and better outcomes for people with the most difficult experiences.”

Samara Jones
co-ordinates the Housing First Europe Hub. She said:

“What’s happening in Scotland is a beacon of good practice that other European nations are watching with interest. The cross-party political support, stable funding and commitment from all those involved is a benchmark in collaborative working and partnership. Across Europe there are Housing First and rapid rehousing programmes placing people in their own home and ending their homelessness. There is still so much to learn, mistakes to make and solutions to find, but Housing First is the right response, in particular for people with the most complex experience of homelessness.”

Kevin Stewart
Minister for Local Government, Housing and Planning, said:

“Compelling international evidence on the effectiveness of Housing First informed the Homelessness & Rough Sleeping Action Group recommendation. Now, almost nine months into the Pathfinder programme, it is very welcome to note the encouragement from Housing First leaders and pace-setters in other parts of the world. The Government has made ending homelessness a priority and is determined that Housing First will be available for those with the hardest life experiences, within a broader rapid rehousing framework.”

Jane Bruce
Chief Executive of Social Bite Scotland, said:

“We are so pleased to see significant numbers of people both in their own homes and also sustaining their tenancies. The programme is doing what we always hoped it would – genuinely breaking the cycle of homelessness by giving people the platform of a stable home alongside intensive support so they can start to build a life from a place of safety and security. No one said it was going to be easy, but progress so far shows that our determination to provide the right type of support to people in their own home is the right approach.

“We are determined to reach our goal of housing 830 people and can use the rich learning gained over the past six months to feed into the planning for the rest of the programme to ensure we hit that goal.”

The unknown element at the start of the programme was how quickly people could be housed as the partners work collectively to shift the system from one way of doing things to another. Based on experience and learning over the past six months forecasting for 2020 will better reflect what has been learned about pace, with greater emphasis placed on outcomes and the emphasis on incremental targets will be relaxed.


Annual Conference 2019 Report

This year’s conference – the biggest yet with 350 people joining – marked a turning point for Housing First in Scotland, with those attending spanning health, housing and the wider public sector as well as third sector colleagues.

Find out more and read the conference report here.

Housing First Scotland Connect Event

Connect Event 3

Thursday 19 September 2019

Dundee Discovery

Read  Housing First Connect Issue 3 (PDF)

Community of Practice

Coming soon, an exciting space to share learning and knowledge from across the Pathfinder areas and beyond.

Contact Us

Ask a question, call or email us below.

3 + 3 =


0141 420 7272


Unit 16a, Adelphi Centre, 12 Commercial Road, Glasgow G5 0PQ



Brought to you by

with thanks to our partners and funders

Homeless Network Scotland is a charity registered in Scotland (SC0 03453) and company limited by guarantee (SC112361).

Registered Office: Adelphi Centre, 12 Commercial Road, Glasgow G5 0PQ. CEO: Margaret-Ann Brünjes