So far 66 people have been provided accommodation through the Housing First pathfinder projects in 6 areas in Scotland (Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee, Aberdeen, Stirling and Aberdeenshire). The target number over 3 years is 830. The progress of the tenancies is being tracked through monthly reports. The first year of the programme (up to end March 2019) was considered to be the ‘tuning up’ stage with an increase in new tenancies being planned over the next 2 years. The target by the end of June 2019 is 145.
The Unit delivered a joint event with Cosla (Convention of Scottish Local Authorities) and the Simon Community on 11th March and heard that all 32 local authorities had submitted their Rapid Rehousing Transition Plans and the Scottish Government had begun the process of arranging feedback to help the plans develop further. It was suggested at the meeting that links to the plans might be made available from a central point but in the meantime they can be accessed through each local authority website.
There was general agreement that joint working across sector and policy areas is key to improving outcomes for people experiencing homelessness and that more focus on preventative services is necessary to stop people becoming homeless in the first place. Further engagement with local stakeholders, including support providers across sectors as well as other statutory agencies (eg mental health and criminal justice services) will be required to effect real change.
As ever, funding pressures on local government finance are in danger of limited the options available for individuals and could risk the necessary shirt to preventative services. The Scottish Government is working with Cosla to distribute £15m to local authorities to help support their shift to rapid rehousing although the total costs set out in their plans amounted to £88m.