First year of homelessness group with lived and professional experience
Today marks a year since 30 people with their own personal stories of homelessness, from working in the sector and living the experience, came together to form All In For Change.
The group is the first such in Scotland combining both lived and professional experience.
After a busy and particularly challenging 12 months, the Change Team continue to play a major part in helping shape homelessness policy and practice, including the Scottish Government’s updated Ending Homelessness Together Action Plan.
Change Team members are drawn from across Scotland – experts in what homelessness looks like on the ground for those most affected by it. The team use clear language and an open and accessible, collaborative working approach to bridge the gap between decision makers, people working in services and people making use of services, as part of a joined-up effort to end homelessness in Scotland.
As with any coproduction process, the group have embraced their different perspectives and experiences and have been ironing out the details as the programme evolves. But few could have predicted just how flexible the team would become – adapting to remote working online, taking on fast moving and rapidly evolving priorities caused by the pandemic.
Derek Jaffray, change lead, has personal lived experience of homelessness and reflects the view of many in the team, saying: “Being part of the Change Team has given me a real sense of purpose, it’s been an important part of my recovery and helped my mental health. I have had some great opportunities to influence those at the top and I feel proud to be called a change lead.”
Kevin Stewart MSP, minister for local government, housing and planning, said: “Congratulations to the Change Team for all their hard work over this past year and reaching its first birthday. I was pleased that the updated Ending Homelessness Together High-Level Action Plan, published in October, included the voices of people who are most directly impacted.
“We will continue to ensure that the voices of people with lived experience, like those from the Change Team and our colleagues working on the frontline, are at the heart of what we are doing to end homelessness. We remain committed to working closely with and listening to the Change Team in the months and years ahead.”
Maggie Brünjes, chief executive at Homeless Network Scotland, said: “What a year – and what a team! Congratulations to everyone in the Change Team for all that’s been accomplished during such a difficult year. Influencers, change-makers and reality checkers – we are so inspired by everything you have achieved.”
The Change Team continue to play a major part in influencing the new plan to end homelessness in Scotland, recommending that four new directions are needed: People First; At Home; No Wrong Door; Good Vibes. These new directions were created from the actions set out in both the original (2018) and updated Ending Homelessness Together Action Plan. Their purpose is to create clear goals to ensure changes in homelessness policy are being translated into practice.
Shelly Coyne from Cyrenians, said: “Cyrenians is proud to be involved in leading this programme with HNS and SCDC and enabling people with first-hand experienced to have a seat at the policy table. Reflecting on this first year, it is humbling to see the enthusiasm and passion the team have for change in Scotland and the drive for the challenges ahead in 2021 and in the future.”
Susan Paxton, head of programmes at SCDC, said: “It’s been a privilege to work with such a diverse and talented group of people as the Change Team over the past year. It’s clear that their hard work is paying off by the strong relationships they’re managing to build with policy makers in Scottish Government and elsewhere.
“There’s still a lot of work to be done, but there’s no doubt their commitment and determination to make a difference makes them critical players in the growing collaborative effort to end homelessness in Scotland.”
Significant work that has fed into policy and practice over the past year.
- Five Calls from the Frontline – stemming from conversations had between Change Leads about the challenges the outbreak was creating for people working in homelessness services – influenced the initial action plan of the Everyone Home Collective.
- The Change Team have been able to take their knowledge gathered on the ground and translate it into policy, using the views and concerns of their networks to inform some key conversations. This included a roundtable with MSP Kevin Stewart, where Change Leads were able to question, discuss and highlight the issues brought forward by people who work with or experience homelessness.
- The team were asked to participate in a crossover meeting with the Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Action Group (HARSAG) as part of their consultation process to inform updated recommendations. Change Team members were able to present their priorities which then fed into the updated Ending Homelessness Together Plan.
The Change Team are supported by partner organisations, Homeless Network Scotland, Cyrenians and the Scottish Community Development Centre (SCDC) and is represented on the Homeless Prevention Strategy Group (HPSG) chaired by the housing minister, Kevin Stewart MSP.
This work is funded by the Scottish Government and the Frontline Network, from St Martin-in-the-Fields. This enables Change Leads with lived experience to be paid for their time and expertise at the real living wage.