‘All In For Change’ launch heralds new approach to tackling homelessness in Scotland
A brand-new approach to tackling homelessness in Scotland was marked in Edinburgh this week as ‘All In For Change’ held its first meeting.
All In For Change is being led by Homeless Network Scotland, Cyrenians and Scottish Community Development Centre (SCDC), putting lived experience at the heart of system change by bringing together frontline workers and people with their own, personal experience of homelessness either currently or in the past.
The 30 people making up the Change Team were selected from more than 70 who applied and will be represented on a national strategy group on homelessness chaired by the minister for local government, housing and planning, Kevin Stewart MSP. It will build a network of those living and working with homelessness to influence policy and strategy at local and national levels – and to help turn that into real change on the ground.
Billie has experience of sleeping rough and currently stays in a hostel in Edinburgh. Billie was selected to be part of the Change Team and said: “The way homelessness has been tackled in the past hasn’t worked. The Change Team is part of the new way, changing the language and working together to help the great change of practice that’s sweeping Scotland. Together, ALL in for change, we WILL make homelessness history – aye we can!”
Kevin Stewart MSP attended the first meeting at the COSLA offices at Haymarket, taking part in a question and answer.
He said: “Everyone needs a safe, warm place to call home – somewhere where we feel secure and can have a sense of belonging. The causes of homelessness are often complex and that is why all services need to be joined up.
“This new group will support the transformational change set out in our Ending Homelessness Together Action plan backed by the Scottish Government’s £50m fund. All organisations and front-line partners are working hard to prevent homelessness, tackle rough sleeping, cut down the time people spend in emergency temporary accommodation and move people quickly into permanent, settled homes.
“Understanding and learning from those who have experienced homelessness will help us to address the root causes and prevent it happening in the first place. By bringing valuable lived experience, expertise from the sector and academia together, we will build a better system that works for everyone and help challenge the public’s perception and stigma of homelessness.”
Maggie Brunjes, chief executive of Homeless Network Scotland, said: “Our first event was unique, something that we’ve not seen previously on this scale or with this much ambition. I want to thank all of those who applied to be part of this exciting team and welcome the inspiring new team who attended on Tuesday.
“The plan is that All In For Change will take great policy and help turn it into new practice – supporting workers to be creative, and encouraging people using services to expect and ask for things to be different.
“The housing minister reaffirmed the Scottish Government’s commitment to listen to people with experience, people who know what needs to be done. The challenge is to apply this combined knowledge, experience and insight where it will have the greatest impact and bring about lasting change.”
Cyrenians head of service, Amy Hutton, said: “This is the first time that we in the sector have been wholeheartedly asked to change the way we do things, as well as change what we do. There is appetite and resource to do things in a way that not only has an impact on homelessness in Scotland now, but which will ensure we never find ourselves here again. But change falls flat if it isn’t embraced and driven on the ground.
“We are incredibly humbled to be part of such an innovative new project, and excited to see the impact All In For Change will have for those at risk of or experiencing homelessness now and in the future.”
Fiona Garven, SCDC director, added: “SCDC is proud to be involved in this crucial piece of work to support people with frontline and first-hand experience of homelessness to lead the systems, practice and culture change we need on the ground.
“We’ll be supporting Homeless Network Scotland by bringing our knowledge of co-productive approaches to working with people on an equal basis, involving and respecting lived experiences amongst other voices and creating ways for people to judge and evaluate the success of the work. We look forward to learning from people with the lived experience to make this a reality.”