The initiative aims to ensure those facing homelessness are rehoused quickly
A revolutionary initiative which aims to get those who face homelessness rehomed quickly has helped hundreds of people in Scotland already.
Housing First provides permanent housing as a first, rather than last, response for people at the sharpest end of homelessness.
The first data on the initiative indicates the programme continued to scale up despite Covid restrictions. The total tenancies created by Scotland’s Housing First Pathfinder up to 31 December 2020 was 404, with an additional 22 added that month.
The key indicator of ‘tenancy sustainment’, which shows how many people kept their tenancy, remains high over the full first year of the Pathfinder, lying at 88% this month.
Housing First includes a support package tailored to the individual and is proven to be a better and more lasting response for people with experiences such as trauma, abuse, addictions and mental ill health who experience homelessness.
Returns for December show that Glasgow, the city with the highest number of homelessness applications in Scotland, hit the significant 150 tenancies milestone. Aberdeen / Aberdeenshire stands at 80, with the highest percentage of people remaining in their home at 93%. In Dundee, the number of tenancies is 64, more than half their target; Edinburgh has 92 and Stirling 11, over halfway towards its target of 20.
Sir Andrew Cubie, chair of the Housing First Scotland Advisory Group, said: “This hugely significant milestone is wonderful news, coming as it does after such a challenging year. Through continued successful partnerships across the Pathfinder areas, and in defiance of the virus and its impact on normal life, more than 400 people have now moved into a safe, secure home of their own.
“The excellent support that is in place has resulted in a high number remaining in their home, and still no evictions have taken place from tenancies created through the programme. As Housing First takes root in local authority areas across Scotland the learning and experience accrued by Pathfinder areas will, I believe, prove immensely important in the months and years ahead.”
Doug Gibson, programme manager for the Housing First Pathfinder at Homeless Network Scotland, said: “Local consortia across the Pathfinder continue to offer Housing First support to people under incredibly difficult circumstances. Sometimes this is delivered remotely, other times by socially distanced meeting outdoors, but the importance of remaining ‘alongside’ tenants is uppermost in the minds of support workers and the teams providing services and advice. As Housing First rolls out across Scotland this year, people with the toughest experiences who have yet to move out of homelessness know there is a resilient, sustainable way forward that lets people build and live their lives in a home of their own.”