Efforts to tackle homelessness working
An innovative approach to preventing homelessness that brings together local authorities across Scotland is proving beneficial, research published today shows.
The research shows that the Housing Options Hubs have positively progressed the development of the Housing Options approach and assisted local authorities to work together on joint projects and the sharing of best practice.
Local authority ‘housing hubs’ comprising neighbouring councils were established in 2010 to help local authorities work together to meet the 2012 homelessness target.
Nearly all 32 councils are involved in regional hubs that examine individuals' housing options in the widest sense and was backed by initial enabling funding of £500,000 from the Scottish Government to cover staff training and service development.
The 2012 target requires that, by December this year, all unintentionally homeless households will be entitled to settled accommodation.
Welcoming today’s research, Housing Minister Keith Brown said:
“This research shows there has been significant buy in from councils to our joint approach to tackling homelessness.
“That is backed up by the latest homelessness figures, which showed we are making significant progress and are on target to meet our commitment that by December all unintentionally homeless households will be entitled to settled accommodation.
“Councils across Scotland are enthusiastically embracing the housing options approach, where prevention is the main driver, as the way forward in the fight to tackle homelessness. Hubs are proving central to that, ensuring best practice is shared and that all councils are able to learn from members who are further ahead in the development of housing options.
“The Scottish Government will continue to drive forward this approach, and I recently announced £150k of follow on support funding for the Hubs for this financial year. We will continue to work extremely closely with local authority colleagues to help people in danger of becoming homeless get the roof over their head they need.”
Councillor Harry McGuigan, Spokesperson for Community Wellbeing and Safety, stated,
“Councils have made excellent progress in the development of their homelessness services, changing from crisis intervention to prevention. This work helps avoid the distress for adults and children of homelessness and is cost-effective.
The local and central government supported Housing Option Hubs have been particularly useful. Hubs are needed to help health, police, RSLs, councils and the Third Sector work together to drive progress. This is particularly important as we are expecting pressure on our existing homelessness services to build as the UK benefit changes start to bite.”
Helen Barclay, Policy Adviser at the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA) said:
“The funding for the continued development of housing options hubs across Scotland is to be welcomed, as part of joint efforts to take a preventative approach to reducing homelessness. The majority of the hubs are about to embark on the broadening of housing options within their own areas and housing associations and co-operatives will assist by providing information on their stock profiles to assist applicants with their choices.
“This will also help to identify amenity and adapted housing for people with particular needs, such as the disabled. The extra funding is welcome, to allow further partnership working to help identify and reduce crisis situations and allow further preventative measures to be put in place.”
The research is available at: Evaluation of the Local Authority Housing Hubs Approach
Key findings from the research are:
- Hubs were felt to have benefited local authorities in two key ways: by increasing ‘buy-in’ to the housing options approach; and in assisting local authorities to work together via projects and sharing of best practice.
- There was an appetite among members for Hubs to continue beyond March 2012. Establishing a clear purpose for future work and continued funding for Hubs to operate are key issues to consider should the Hubs approach be extended. The Minister announced funding for 2012/13 in April this year.
- It was felt the Hubs approach may have value for other housing or service areas where local authorities faced shared or similar challenges.