Go Big and Go Home: Conference to hear of Scotland’s Housing First expansion

Scotland is in the spotlight today as nearly 250 people gather at the Albert Halls in Stirling for the Housing First Scotland conference.

To be opened by Kevin Stewart MSP, minister for local government and housing, the day will hear how Scotland has now placed Housing First firmly at the heart of a broader housing-led and homelessness prevention approach.

Housing First means a settled home quickly, then the space and intensive support to address other issues people have. The international evidence tells us it works best for people who are facing severe and multiple disadvantages, including people sleeping rough. It supports people to leave homelessness behind – the system, the experience, the label – for good.

This year, Scotland will begin a steady expansion of Housing First. Many cities across the world have been scaling up successfully, but too few countries have sized up the opportunity to take Housing First to scale nationally. Scotland embarking on this approach will attract international observers and commentators, and it is important that we get it right.

Read: Blog: Housing First Scotland - Doug Gibson from the Glasgow Homelessness Network reflects on Housing First in anticipation of today’s major conference.

The conference is a key milestone in getting all hands – and views – on deck.

On the day:

  • Josh Littlejohn, founder of Social Bite, will launch the Housing First Scotland Fund to kick-start the new approach and deliver Housing First support to hundreds of people across key cities by 2020;
  • Patrick McKay from Turning Point Scotland will launch the first Housing First Training Academy which will share and maintain best practice across Scotland and beyond;
  • Jon Sparkes from Crisis will reflect on how the work of the Scottish Government’s Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Action Group paved the way for new energy and commitments
  • Maggie Brünjes, director of The Glasgow Homelessness Network (GHN), which hosts Housing First Scotland, said: “Our recent collaboration with over 400 people with direct experience of homelessness gave us the clearest message; that most people want housing with support that is right alongside them while they leave homelessness behind. There is no doubt that Housing First is the right way forward, but we need to get it right. Delivering it at the right scale means working together to resolve some of the bigger blocks that stand in our way, and assisting frontline workers with what they need to lead from the front.”

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