Martin Gavin: New roles ramp up lived experience to resolve homelessness
Homeless Network Scotland’s Martin Gavin highlights an opportunity to work in the Scottish Government Homelessness Unit, along with a chance to join All In For Change and ensure the voice of lived experience remains loud and present in homelessness policy.
During a question & answer session at the Homeless Network Scotland conference in March then Housing Minister, Kevin Stewart MSP, was asked what made Scotland’s response to homelessness different. The Minister’s response was instantaneous – ‘People’.
Among the most active independent people working to ensure the right solutions are put in place has been the Change Team. Collectively, team members form All In For Change, a group comprising individuals working in the sector along with those who have their own lived experience of being homeless, drawn from across Scotland. This unique arrangement means the big issues can be viewed from multiple perspectives at the same time and in the same space. The kaleidoscope of views and opinions this process cultivates makes sure those who know the answers are helping to shape solutions. Homeless Network Scotland created this platform for people in partnership with Cyrenians and Scottish Community Development Centre.
The Change Team are experts in what homelessness looks like on the ground for those most affected by it, which is why they have a seat at the table on the Homelessness Prevention and Strategy Group. The combination of practical and professional experience has been valuable in helping to shape important work taking place under pressure during the pandemic. Members have also contributed to longer term decision making and policy setting in connection to the work of the Everyone Home Collective and the Prevention Review Group, which reported in the spring.
Building from the impact All In For Change has had during the past 18 months, the Scottish Government committed in the Housing to 2040 paper to create an exciting opportunity for one person with current or previous experience of homelessness to join its Homelessness Unit on secondment for up to two years. The post is called a ‘Policy Officer’ and is a full-time, paid position. Applications close this Sunday 20 June at 4pm.
The post holder will work with colleagues across the Homelessness Unit and with the Change Team to deliver commitments in the Ending Homelessness Together action plan, such as preventing homelessness from happening in the first place, improving temporary accommodation standards, supporting the shift to rapid rehousing and understanding housing affordability.
The Change Team will continue to play a major part in helping to shape homelessness policy and practice, including the Scottish Government’s updated Ending Homelessness Together Action Plan. With this in mind, the team is looking to expand and in addition to the opportunity above is recruiting for people with lived experience to take forward this important agenda as a Change Team member.
The team use clear language and an open 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 drive to end homelessness in Scotland.
Change Leads with experience of homelessness are paid at Real Living Wage of £9.50 per hour for work carried out on behalf of All In For Change, around two hours per week is invited. Click here for details and to apply. The Scottish Government role is a paid, full time secondment of 37 hours per week. For further information about that post, please contact Janice Higgins at Homeless Network Scotland on JHiggins@homelessnetwork.scot and email completed applications to Janice by 4pm on Sunday 20 June 2021 – the application closing date for both roles.