William Eichler 12 February 2018

Housing First should be introduced to Scotland, MSPs say

Housing First should be introduced to Scotland, MSPs say image

Scotland should provide homeless people with a permanent home, a parliamentary committee has recommended after a year-long inquiry into homelessness.

The Scottish Parliament’s Local Government and Communities Committee today published its report into the causes and long-term solutions to homelessness in Scotland.

Its main recommendation is a housing model which aims to quickly provide a home to those in need rather than forcing them to go through several levels of temporary accommodation.

This would also involve the provision of extra support to those who need it.

Known as Housing First, this housing model has proven to be successful in Finland, the only country in Europe where homelessness has declined. It was first developed in New York by the Pathways to Housing organisation in 1992.

According to Housing First England, 70-90% of Housing First residents are able to remain housed.

‘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,’ said committee convener Bob Doris MSP.

‘That’s why our Committee has recommended that the Scottish Government learns from Finland and rolls out a Scottish version of Housing First, as a part of a potential solution to addressing homelessness.

‘Housing is a basic human right and everyone should have a roof over their heads. We hope these recommendations will go some way towards ensuring that becomes the reality for more people and families in the future.’

More than 34,800 homeless applications were made to local authorities in Scotland last year, according to official figures. This was 118 applications higher compared to the same period in 2016.

There are also 6,581 children in temporary accommodation in Scotland.

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