Former UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Housing to headline homelessness conference
Leilani Farha, former UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Housing, will visit Scotland in autumn to provide a keynote at Homeless Network Scotland’s annual conference.
Ms Farha is global director of The Shift, an international movement to secure the right to housing which works with multi-level stakeholders around the world including with several city governments in North America and Europe. She brings a unique set of knowledge and experience to share with colleagues in Scotland, including through her topical reports on homelessness, the financialization of housing, informal settlements, rights-based housing strategies, and the first UN Guidelines for the implementation of the right to housing.
With the conference programme launching today, Home for 10 is the title of this year’s event from Homeless Network Scotland which brings together the sectors and services in Scotland that are committed to adequate housing and preventing homelessness in Scotland.
Taking place on 4 October in Glasgow, the conference is marking ten years since the removal of the priority need test in Scotland; the result of progressive legislation from the Scottish Parliament which created an almost universal right to housing in Scotland, with exceptions as a consequence of immigration legislation reserved to UK Government.
But the 2012 commitment did not end homelessness in Scotland. Rights were seen to leverage action, accountability and help increase expectations – but on their own were not enough when efforts to prevent homelessness had not been widescale or early enough or the supply of affordable housing sufficient enough.
With 2032 the target date for 110,000 new affordable homes in Scotland, many are eyeing the opportunity to align this more realistic housing investment with new duties to prevent homelessness – to assure everyone has a home to build and live their lives.
The conference will welcome Shona Robison MSP, cabinet secretary for social justice, housing and local government, who will encourage the conference to ‘stay on track’ toward the ambition of ending homelessness in Scotland. And Kevin Stewart MSP, minister for mental wellbeing & social care, will comment on how the National Care Service can improve housing and wellbeing outcomes.
All this will be explored across the day in three themed segments:
- Making the Shift: a focus on housing rights, options, supply and access. And the financialisaton of housing and what it means for Scotland’s long-term vision set out in
Housing to 2040.
- Stemming the Tide: a focus on the factors that make up the cost-of-living crisis, how it links to housing and homelessness prevention – and the correcting action we need to take.
- Rewriting Social Care: a focus on the opportunities and dilemmas of a National Care Service in Scotland. Change of this size also offers the chance to rewrite the language around social care to put people first.
Plus, four breakout sessions will provide an opportunity for immersive conversation in smaller groups:
- The Art of Advocacy and Activism
- Ask About Housing
- Measuring What Matters
- No Wrong Door
Maggie Brunjes, chief executive of Homeless Network Scotland, said: “Home for 10 is shaping up to be an event that meets the moment. The homelessness sector in Scotland will go on record in terms of the swiftness and effectiveness of its response during the pandemic. But there are stubborn issues, and new threats on the horizon that are stalling progress in ensuring everyone has a home to build and live their lives.
“It is important to keep learning about what works and what matters. As well as a phenomenal range of speakers and contributors on the day, we will be publishing a special collection of insights and provocations from key experts – across policy, practice, personal experience and academia – on the mistakes made, the hard-won progress, and what needs to happen next.”
Keynotes and special guests confirmed include:
- Darren (Loki) McGarvey, author
- Dani Garavelli, journalist
- Martin Boyle, associate at Homeless Network Scotland
- Catriona Mackean, deputy director at Scottish Government
- Alex Fox OBE, chief executive of Mayday Trust
- Ryan MacDonald, Housing Options Scotland
- Alison Kennedy, East Ayrshire Council
- Mark Cairney, associate of Homeless Network Scotland.
- Bryony Shannon, blogger
- Suzie Mcilloney, South Ayrshire Council
You can view the full programme here and book your ticket here.