Blog: Transforming the use of temporary accommodation

Kevin Stewart

Housing minister Kevin Stewart blogs about new recommendations from Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Action Group to transform temporary accommodation for homeless people.

Ending rough sleeping and homelessness are national priorities for this government as part of our drive to create a fairer Scotland.

There has been a 40% fall in homelessness applications since 2010 and that is largely due to the innovative and person centred approaches being taken across the country.

Where homelessness does occur, Scotland has some of the strongest housing rights in the world. Everybody found to be homeless is entitled to housing and most people are provided with settled permanent accommodation.

But still too many people struggle to access the accommodation and services they need.

The key to ending homelessness is preventing it in the first place. We are working with partners to find better ways to help people who are rough sleeping and at risk of homelessness.

The Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Action Group is identifying what it will take to ensure nobody has to suffer the damaging effects of being homeless.

(Last) week, I welcomed the Action Group’s 21 bold and visionary recommendations on how to transform the use of temporary accommodation. The majority of the recommendations deal with prevention first and recognise that when temporary accommodation is needed it must fit with people’s needs. They also include giving more power to front line workers and promoting the widest possible range of options so that people are settled into a home as quickly as possible.

Six of the recommendations will need more detailed analysis as they relate to the devolution of funding from the UK government for temporary accommodation. I recognise the importance of making sure we get the funding right to underpin a system that works well for people and this will be considered in partnership with local government.

The Action Group’s recommendations play a vital role in helping us meet our pledge to transform temporary accommodation and end homelessness, backed by our £50 million Ending Homeless Together Fund. I am also committed to ensuring that we keep engaging with people who have direct experience of homelessness, front line workers and service providers to take these recommendations forward.

The Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Action Group was established by the Scottish Government in September 2017. It announced its recommendations on Transforming Temporary Accommodation in Scotland in May 2018 and its recommendations on Ending Rough Sleeping in Scotland in March 2018. Its final set of recommendations on how to end homelessness for good is due in the next few weeks.

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