Every experience of homelessness – and every path out – is unique. But one thing common to each is that housing ends homelessness.
Scotland’s vision to end homelessness is now focused on ordinary, settled housing as quickly as possible for everyone, with Housing First wrap around support available for those who want and need it.
This is the approach of Scotland’s Housing First Pathfinders, working to make Housing First a reality on a much bigger scale than what we’ve so far known. Working in a new, collaborative way across sectors, to understand and establish the relationships, structures and processes necessary to ramp up our activity.
The five Pathfinder areas are:
The Pathfinder was set in motion by the substantial fundraising efforts of thousands of people across Scotland energised by Social Bite and with funding support from Merchants House Glasgow. The Homeless Network and Corra Foundation were appointed as Project and Fund Managers.
Designing and then building a single Housing First approach in Scotland, with local application, is what will keep the momentum building and make sure principles are honoured. We were all excited when the Scottish Government connected the Government/COSLA highlevel commitment to Housing First to the Social Bite programme already underway. In doing so, Scottish Government became the main funder of a much larger £10m Housing First Pathfinder programme that can now promise to reach further.
More than 800 homes have been pledged in those five areas mostly in the social rented sector, but with some private rented tenancies too. Support for people is delivered by local consortia comprising a formidable group of support providers. 15 services in total in fact – all freshly trained by Turning Point Scotland – with a lead in each area (in same order): Aberdeen Cyrenians, Transform Community Development, Cyrenians, Turning Point Scotland and Loretto Care.
We described this phase as Tuning Up for a reason – the first nine months of making Housing First real in Scotland have been loud, out of tune, exciting, frustrating, challenging, encouraging, like an orchestra finding itsa key, and with a strong feeling that something really big is about to happen.
Senior decision makers, politicians and policy makers, funders, tenants, frontline support workers, service managers are all coming together to change a system. Working, thinking, solving, leading, supporting – sharing their wins, and losses too.
Together, we’ve been tuning up something very modern, a way forward. A new way of working. Scotland’s Housing First Pathfinder aims to transform the lives of some of the most vulnerable people in Scotland by disrupting a system that has failed them time and again. Housing will end their homelessness; the individuals – and the support alongside them – will do the rest.
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