This Guest Blog was written by Kieran Turner - researcher at Centre for Homeless and Inclusion Health .
In April 2021, the process began of scaling up the Housing First programme across most local authorities in Scotland. This is the result of a new requirement for local authorities to publish Rapid Rehousing Transition Plans. An evidence-based approach, Housing First provides ordinary settled housing as the first response for people whose homelessness is made harder through experiences such as trauma, addictions and mental health problems. It rejects the idea that many people are not ‘ready’ for housing – and aims to prevent rough sleeping and divert people away from temporary homeless accommodation. Flexible person-centred support is available - as much and for as long as someone wants it. The principles that the Housing First programme should adhere to are:
- People have a right to a home
- Flexible support is provided for as long as an individual needs it
- Housing and support are separate
- Individuals have choice and control
- An active engagement approach is used
- The service is based on people’s strengths, goals, and aspirations
- A harm reduction approach is adopted
The Housing First Pathfinder is a three-year programme (2019-22) designed to develop a blueprint for this further national rollout of Housing First in Scotland. Catalysed by Social Bite with further funding from Scottish Government and Merchants House Glasgow, five multi-agency partnerships (pathfinders) across six local authorities have been testing ways to accelerate and scale up delivery of Housing First in Scotland. These consortia are:
- Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire – led by Aberdeen Cyrenians
- Dundee - led by Transform Community Development
- Edinburgh – led by Cyrenians (Read more ).
- Glasgow – led by Turning Point Scotland
- Stirling – led by Loretto Care
As of March 2021, the number of new Housing First tenancies through the Pathfinders was 483 – with 86% of these people still in their tenancies.