Housing First Scotland projects to benefit from £3.2m fund

Today five projects were announced that will aim to support hundreds of homeless people across five cities in Scotland off the streets and into a secure tenancy with support. The funding is coming from Social Bite, through money that was raised through their Sleep in the Park events. The other significant contributor of funds is The Merchants House of Glasgow. Up to 800 houses have been pledged by a variety of housing associations and local councils to the programme, which will be delivered in partnership with Corra Foundation and The Homeless Network. Projects will also be supported through expert training in a new model of supporting vulnerable people, delivered by Turning Point Scotland.

Housing First means that home is the best foundation from which to address any other challenges people face. It means safety and security, and a fresh opportunity for people to build and live their lives as part of a community. It means leaving homelessness behind for good – the system, the experience and the label.

The Housing First Scotland Fund was launched earlier this year and represents the biggest adoption of the Housing First model in Europe. This first set of projects will be funded until 2021 across Glasgow, Edinburgh, Stirling, Aberdeen and Dundee with the aim of supporting just over 200 people. The ultimate ambition of the programme is to support 800 people out of homelessness for good.

Social Bite Founder, Josh Littlejohn said:

“It is fantastic to see the Housing First programme reach this stage of awarding funds to local homelessness charities so that they can deliver the comprehensive support that many vulnerable people need to sustain a tenancy and break the cycle of homelessness. It is a major milestone in the fight against homelessness and I hope it will make a massive difference to Scotland’s most excluded people, many of whom have suffered from homelessness for years. This programme was only made possible by the 8,000 people who slept out for us last December, I would like to thank each and every one of them, and encourage people to join our Sleep in the Park events this year.”

Merchants House of Glasgow Lord Dean of Guild, Ian Dickson said:

“The Merchants House of Glasgow is delighted to be supporting and contributing funding to this important programme. Homelessness is a significant challenge within Glasgow. The Housing First Initiative represents a paradigm shift in addressing that challenge and we were keen to take a leading role in Glasgow through our Social Impact Partnership. We look forward to seeing the impact of the projects announced today.”

It is hoped that the projects will act as ‘pathfinders’, paving the way for Housing First to become the default model for addressing homelessness for vulnerable people with complex needs across Scotland. The model is based on a set of internationally recognised principles, including that: people have a right to a home; that people have choice and control; and that services are based on people’s strengths, goals and aspirations.

Corra Foundation CEO, Fiona Duncan said:

“It’s a real privilege to be involved in delivering this fund. We believe it will make a real difference to people in the immediate future, as well as having a lasting impact on the way homeless people are supported in Scotland.”

Kevin Stewart, MSP Minister for Local Government, Housing and Planning said:

“We want to ensure everyone has a safe place they can call home. This is a significant step forward for the Social Bite Housing First Programme and towards helping people with complex needs to move quickly into permanent homes with the support they need to sustain a tenancy.

“To consolidate and support that, we are working closely with councils to ensure that this work is integrated into broader plans to implement the recommendations of the Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Action Group, to prevent homelessness and strengthen the help for those who need it most. To this end we have already committed up to £4 million from the £50 million Ending Homelessness Together Fund to support councils in the participating five cities.”

The funded projects are:

1) Housing First Glasgow led by Turning Point Scotland with a consortium comprised of Simon Community Scotland, The Salvation Army and Loretto Care (£900,000)

2) Housing First Edinburgh led by Edinburgh Cyrenians with a consortium comprised of Turning Point Scotland, Rock Trust, Streetwork, Bethany Christian Trust, Gowrie Care and Barony Care (£650,000).

3) Housing First Dundee led by Transform Community Development with a consortium comprised of Salvation Army Dundee, Dundee Survival Group (DSG) and Addaction (£400,000)

4) Housing First Aberdeen led by Aberdeen Cyrenians with a consortium comprised of Aberdeen Foyer, Turning Point Scotland, Aberdeen City Council Housing Support Department and Aberdeenshire Council (£400,000)

5) Housing First Stirling led by Loretto Care with Barony Care offering support (£100,000)

 

Notes to Editors

  1. Josh Littlejohn is available for further comment please contact: lorna.ferguson@social-bite.co.uk
  2. The Housing First approach, first developed in New York, is a successful method of helping people who are homeless and who have multiple and enduring support needs, to secure accommodation and be supported to live a sustainable way of life. Housing First differs from traditional tenancy support models in several respects. Traditional support workers may have caseloads of 20-40 people, whereas Housing First workers will typically support an initial caseload of 5-7 people. This number may increase over time as people require less support. Housing First employs active engagement, supporting people by recognising and emphasising their strengths and capacity for positive change, and links with relevant services that help to meet the full range of an individual’s needs.

There is evidence to show that the Housing First model can help people with complex needs to sustain a tenancy; improve their mental health and physical wellbeing, and increase their contact with family and involvement with the local community. Key to the success of the Housing First model is the commitment by all agencies involved and the provision of person centred planning and flexible support for the individual for as long as required.

A useful online guide to Housing First and its Key Principles may be found here: https://housingfirstguide.eu/website/

  1. The partners involved in the Housing First Scotland Fund are:

Social Bite

Social Bite are a national Social Enterprise in Scotland. Through a chain of cafes and restaurants they employ over 100 people many of whom have struggled with homelessness. They are the largest distributor of fresh free food to the homeless in the UK giving out over 100,000 items of food and hot drinks per year. Social Bite recently launched homelessness accommodation through its Social Bite Village project, and has been a driving force behind the five city “Housing First”programme aimed at getting hundreds of people off the streets and into homes of their own.

The Homeless Network

The Homeless Network is a third sector member organisation that evidences and advances solutions to poor housing and homelessness by connecting the knowledge and experiences of people who both live and work with the issue.

The Merchants House Glasgow – The Merchants House of Glasgow has been part of the fabric of City of Glasgow for more than 400 years and  has played a major role in the development and growth of the City. It’s head, the Lord Dean of Guild, is Glasgow’s Second Citizen. It is now a significant charitable institution and,  over the last five years alone,  has distributed more than £2m to local charities and individuals in need.

Through its new Social Impact Partnership, The Merchants House of Glasgow  seeks to address  areas of critical  social need in Glasgow. It identified rough sleeping  and mental health as its priority target and in March this year entered into an agreement with Social Bite, as its first Social Impact Partner, for the support of The Housing First Initiative.  Its support and funding is specifically targeted at improving the employability of Housing First Tenants in Glasgow.

Corra Foundation – Corra Foundation exists to make a difference to the lives of people and communities. We work closely with other charities and funders, communities and policy makers to encourage positive change, opportunity, fairness and growth of aspirations which improve quality of life. Our vision is for a society in which people create positive change and enjoy fulfilling lives.

  1. The Housing First Scotland Fund comprises £3.2m, of which £2.45m has been allocated to delivery projects. The remainder supports the running of the fund, along with support from The Homeless Network, training delivered by Turning Point Scotland and an evaluation being carried out by Heriot Watt University.
  2. On 27 June 2018, the Scottish Government allocated £21 million to support a shift to rapid rehousing and Housing First across Scotland, alongside the final recommendations of the Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Action Group. Of this, up to £4 million will be available to support local authorities in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee, Aberdeen and Stirling.
  3. For more information please visit https://www.corra.scot/grant-programmes/housing-first-scotland-fund/
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