The Scottish government has allocated a further £21m towards Housing First to get rough sleepers and those living in temporary accommodation into permanent homes more quickly.
Housing Minister Kevin Stewart MSP revealed that the funding will be passed on to homeless organisations and local authorities as part of the £50 million Ending Homelessness Together Fund announced last year.
The SNP minister made the announcement during a 10-minute statement to Scottish parliament and also revealed that an addition health funding contribution of £1.5 million will be handed over the first two years to transition to a rapid rehousing approach.
— SHR (@SHR_news) June 27, 2018
Pioneered in Europe and the US, Housing First sees vulnerable people given homes alongside support services to help deal with issues like addiction.
The cash injection to support it is necessary after it was revealed that homelessness applications had risen for the first time in nine years last week.
“We know that homelessness is not solely a housing issue and we are committed to tackling the wider risk factors of homelessness and rough sleeping, including poverty and the increased risk of homelessness due to UK government welfare cuts,” said Stewart. “This funding will ensure we support people at times of crisis, while also taking an important step towards transforming the system and offering rapid routes back to settled housing.”
In total, more than 92,000 people have sold The Big Issue since 1991 to help themselves work their way out of poverty – more than could fit into Wembley Stadium.
Of the pledged funding, up to £4m will be available to support local authorities in cities participating in the joint Social Bite and Corra Housing First initiative.
The plans were among 29 recommendations made by the Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Action Group that have been accepted in principle by the government following their final report.
Massive credit to @KevinStewartSNP and @scotgov for their significant financial commitment to Housing First, including a £4M contribution to Social Bite and @corrascot 800 Homes Campaign. So many people will be helped – thank you for your leadership. https://t.co/sdua5uoHe4
— Social Bite (@SocialBite_) June 27, 2018
Jon Sparkes, chair of the Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Action Group and chief executive of national homelessness charity Crisis, said: “Everybody in Scotland deserves the dignity and stability of a safe and stable place to live, so we are very pleased the Scottish government has accepted our recommendations to tackle homelessness across the country.”
All of the measures have been welcomed by the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities Community Wellbeing spokesperson Elena Whitham who has called on the Scottish government to take the action group’s recommendations forward.
“The funding commitment set out today by the minister is welcome – rapid rehousing transition plans and housing first are both critical to get right,” she said. “As the action group comes to its natural end, we have from their suite of recommendations, and the Local Government Committee of the Scottish parliament report on homelessness a comprehensive set of ideas and actions that can transform the outcomes of those who find themselves at risk of homelessness, homelessness or rough sleeping.”
Image: Scottish Government