People who are living in temporary accommodation or at risk of homelessness are to be supported quickly into permanent homes through new investment of £21 million.
Homelessness organisations and local authorities will use the funding, which is part of the £50 million Ending Homelessness Together Fund along with a health funding contribution of £1.5 million over the first two years, to develop their transition to a Housing First and rapid rehousing approach. Housing First provides permanent housing as a first, rather than last, response for people with complex needs.
Housing Minister Kevin Stewart said:
“We know that homelessness is not solely a housing issue and we are committed to tackling the wider risk factors of homelessness and rough sleeping, including poverty and the increased risk of homelessness due to UK Government welfare cuts.
“Our £21 million investment will ensure we support people at times of crisis, while also taking an important step towards transforming the system and offering rapid routes back to settled housing.
“Our focus on prevention has contributed toward a 39% fall in homelessness applications in the last ten years. We want to build on these strengths and accelerate progress.”
Jon Sparkes, Chair of the Homelessness & Rough Sleeping Action Group and Chief Executive of national homelessness charity Crisis, said:
“We welcome the government’s pledge of vital funds to house people more quickly, and to provide the crucial support they need to leave homelessness behind for good. In addition, we have called for public bodies – such as hospitals, prisons, and social care services – to play a role in preventing homelessness, and for the government, local authorities and social landlords to build the social housing we need to truly meet demand.
“Now is the time for action, and we look forward to working closely with the SNP Government to make these plans a reality so that ultimately, homelessness in Scotland can be ended once and for all.”
Kenneth Gibson MSP added:
“I am delighted that many of the recommendations of the Local Government and Communities Committee have been taken into account by the SNP Government, particularly in relation to Housing First. Everybody deserves the dignity and stability of a safe and stable place to live.
“Housing First provides ordinary, permanent housing as a first, rather than last, response for people with complex needs. It recognises a safe and secure home as the best base for recovery and having a long-term future.”