A new way of approaching homelessness

SBC Headquarters
SBC Headquarters

A year-long inquiry into homelessness in Scotland has concluded with a series of recommendations including introducing a Housing First model.

This aims to provide a home quickly to those in need, along with the necessary support, rather than people being put into several levels of temporary accommodation.

A BBC investigation revealed that there were 34,864 homeless applications made to local authorities in the past 12 months, an increase of 118 on the previous year.

The BBC report also claimed that people who were homeless or who were about to lose their homes were being turned away by some local councils, who have a legal obligation to find them accommodation.

Not all Scottish local authorities provided the information requested, however, and Scottish Borders Council was one from whom there was no response.

Their web site explains their responsibility if a claimant can show that they: are homeless; are not intentionally homeless; are unable to remain in your home due to domestic abuse, medical, financial, overcrowding or any other significant reason; have a local connection.

Accommodation will normally be provided with temporary accommodation for a reasonable period (usually 28 days) to give Scottish Borders Council to determine the extent of their responsibility and to establish if someone qualifies for permanent accommodation.

The Scottish Government’s Local Government and Communities Committee Convener, Bob Doris MSP, said: “ “We know there is no quick-fix solution to eradicating homelessness and it still remains a complex issue in Scotland and many other countries today.

“After hearing directly from people who are homeless and those who have experienced sleeping on the streets or sofa-surfing, as well as service providers on the front-line, it was clear that further action is needed.

“That’s why our committee has recommended that the Scottish Government learns from Finland and rolls out a Scottish version of Housing First.

“Housing is a basic human right and everyone should have a roof over their heads.”