Systemic failures in temporary homeless accommodation highlighted in new report
Housing and homelessness charity Shelter Scotland, alongside six sector partners, have co-produced a report that sets out the key findings of The Homeless Rights Advocacy Project’s Practitioner Forum.
The report was co-produced with independent advocacy charity AdvoCard, social care charity Carr Gomm and homeless charities Cyrenians, Four Square, Simon Community Scotland and Turning Point Scotland.
The Homeless Rights Advocacy Project has been running lawyer-led workshops, online courses and produced resources while guiding the Practitioner Forum, consisting of members from the project’s partner organisations, who have produced the report as part of a two-year training programme funded by Legal Education Foundation.
The report makes eight recommendations to improve the experience of people in temporary homeless accommodation. Some of these recommendations reflect existing legal obligations and policy commitments.
Chris Ryan, senior solicitor at Shelter Scotland, said: “When people do not know their rights, they cannot challenge the injustice of their situation. The Homeless Rights Advocacy Project has sought to empower frontline services with the rights-based knowledge they need to advocate on behalf persons who are homeless. Though as this report shows there continues to be serious unaddressed challenges in the system - knowledge of rights is an important starting point, but it does not always mean that those rights will be enforced.
“We hope that this report will be helpful to those responsible for the funding and delivery of homeless services. With record numbers of children in temporary homeless accommodation and households spending longer in temporary accommodation an emergency response is now required.”
Viki Fox, Cyrenian’s policy & participation manager and forum member, said: “In our opinion, the lack of available suitable temporary accommodation is a huge challenge. This includes communal accommodation which does not have basic facilities for cooking or has inadequate space for households. This is exacerbated when support is not provided to those that need it.
“As well as this, rules in some temporary accommodation sites leave residents unable to access their living space when under the influence or when not meeting an arbitrary curfew. Consideration should be given to the mental health of those accessing temporary accommodation, for example in allowing pets and family visits, and it should be in a locality which suits the household.”
The report will be launched at a virtual event on Wednesday 3 May. Those interested in attending can register here. Please note spaces are limited.