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The rollout of the Housing First initiative in Scotland is set to be stepped up, with a target of helping 830 people find homes
The most visible forms of homelessness could be gone from Scotland’s streets within three years.
The rollout of the Housing First scheme in Scotland could see visible and acute homelessness become a thing of the past, as work ramps-up in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen, Dundee and Stirling.
The Housing First Pathfinder – a Scottish Government backed programme created with support from The Merchants House of Glasgow, and Social Bite – is extending its work across Scotland after a successful nine-month initiation period. The project has been building networks and getting systems in place, with more than 50 people already housed through the programme in this warm up phase.
Housing First provides mainstream housing with wrap-around support as a first response rather than the final step in a long process. It is proven to be a better and more lasting response for people with experiences such as trauma, abuse, addictions and mental ill health. The target is to house 830 people by the end of the Pathfinder programme, and the remaining 27 Scottish councils are shaping up their plans to deliver Housing First in their areas.
Maggie Brunjes, chief executive of The Homeless Network, which manages the Pathfinder, said the project is working to bring about a lasting change.
She said: “Everyone needs a home, and those that have braved the biggest challenges – and been most disadvantaged by the conditions that create homelessness – need housing first and fast. This is a game-changer, a radical and totally new approach to homelessness in Scotland that is a caring and respectful response we can be proud of.”
Josh Littlejohn, Social Bite co-founder, said: “Housing First is a truly transformative programme that provides a human-centred, kind and compassionate response to the systemic issue of homelessness. We are incredibly proud of our partners who are pioneering positive change. A huge thank you also goes to the thousands of people who have made this possible by taking part in Sleep in the Park, raising funds and the consciousness of the nation.”