At Social Bite we are working collaboratively to ensure everyone in Scotland has a safe place to call home, we believe this is not only a basic human right, but it is essential in creating a society where everyone has the opportunity to reach their potential.
Over the next 18 months, we have set an ambitious target of moving 830 people out of a cycle of homelessness and into a home of their own with the support they want to thrive.
This will begin in five locations across Scotland with groups of leading housing and support providers having been selected to deliver Housing First:
Glasgow led by Turning Point Scotland with a consortium comprised of Simon Community Scotland, The Salvation Army and Loretto Care
Edinburgh led by Edinburgh Cyrenians with a consortium comprised of Turning Point Scotland, Rock Trust, Streetwork, Bethany Christian Trust, Gowrie Care and Barony Care
Dundee led by Transform Community Development with a consortium comprised of Salvation Army Dundee, Dundee Survival Group (DSG) and Addaction
Aberdeen led by Aberdeen Cyrenians with a consortium comprised of Aberdeen Foyer, Turning Point Scotland, Aberdeen City Council Housing Support Department and Aberdeenshire Council
Stirling led by Loretto Care with Barony Care offering support
The Housing First Scotland programme will be devliered in partnership with Corra Foundation and The Glasgow Homelessness Network. The first homes have already become available in the last few months with a total of 51 people now in a permanent home of their own, with more people to be housed over the coming months.
‘Housing First’ is simple and it aims to turn the existing homelessness system on its head. Rather than making extremely vulnerable people, often with complex needs, sleep rough or in unsupported places such as hostels or B&Bs. Housing First gives people a safe home of their own and then puts in a place a support structure to help them sustain their tenancy, re-integrate into society; and ultimately thrive. Housing First is a truly transformative programme that provides a human-centred, kind and compassionate response to the systemic issue of homelessness.
At Social Bite, we believe this project signifies the dawning of a new era in how Scotland responds to the systemic issue of homelessness. The project’s wider goal is to act as a catalyst for the adoption of Housing First across all 32 Scottish local authorities, so it becomes the default solution to tackling the systemic issue of homelessness. We aim to cause a structural shift away from the use of unsuitable temporary accommodation that perpetuates repeat homelessness, towards people being housed as quickly as possible in permanent homes with appropriate wraparound support.
The investment of £3 million, by Social Bite, in to the Housing First Pathfinders project saw a significant progression in a journey which began with Turning Point Scotland who ran a small Housing First pilot project almost ten years ago. The other significant contributor of funds is The Merchants House of Glasgow. The Scottish Government officially backed the programme and has pledged £4M to the first two years of the programme and an additional £2.5M for year three to support the transition to local authority mainstreaming of rapid rehousing.
The project will help to reduce the significant hidden costs of the current system, with international evidence showing that significant savings can be made to the public purse after an initial set up and transitional period of approximately two years.
Luckily, in Scotland we have literally thousands of decent, determined people across every sector working every day (and night) to deliver systems and solutions that make homelessness the rare, brief, urgent exception it ought to be.
We will collect evidence on the outcomes of the programme, particularly linked to tenancy sustainment, positive mental health improvements, and cost savings to local authorities, as well as the cost savings for police, criminal justice and health budgets. In line with this we will be seeking to work with local and national government to ensure that the funding for the support is ultimately mainstreamed.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “Many people who become homeless or end up sleeping rough have complex needs that require specialist support as well as a house. Traditionally the approach has been to provide support and get a person ‘tenancy ready’ before giving them a house. But that can mean they spend long periods of time in temporary accommodation, making it harder for them to address the other issues they face.
“We want to change that, which is why we are working with Social Bite and others to invest in and expand Housing First to make it a key element of all homelessness services in Scotland. It is our priority to get a person into settled accommodation first, so they can then access support from the security of their own home.
“Now is the time for action, and to end homelessness in Scotland once and for all.”
This is only possible because of everyone who has joined the movement by buying lunch from our cafes, making donations, signing up to become regular donors and everyone who participated in our Sleep in the Park events in 2017 and 2018.
If you’re interested in finding out more, we’ve put together some helpful Q&As here.
Hear more and meet some of our Pathfinders and Leaders below:
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