A leading homelessness academic has welcomed the Housing Minister's response to recommendations made - to end rough sleeping in Scotland.
The proposals were put forward by the Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Action Group and include a national system of rapid rehousing, involving integrated support from frontline outreach services and local authorities.
This will include moving to a 'Housing First' model for those with most complex needs – where people move straight into a permanent, settled home rather than temporary accommodation.
In December, £328,000 was invested to support additional capacity for night shelters and extra staff to help get more people into accommodation over winter.
Now the Scottish Government will provide a further £150,000 to continue to provide some services to the summer, while the latest recommendations are taken forward.
Professor Suzanne Fitzpatrick, Director of I-SPHERE at Heriot-Watt University, sits on the Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Action Group.
Commenting on the announcement, Suzanne said: “We're delighted that Scottish Ministers have accepted all recommendations from the Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Action Group.
“This is a crucial step forward in achieving the ambition to end rough sleeping in Scotland, and builds on extensive international evidence regarding the most effective responses to homelessness. We look forward to working with Scottish Government and other partners to implement these plans.”
Minister for Local Government & Housing, Kevin Stewart said: “As we come out of a particularly bad winter period, the action group's work so far has been vital in ensuring front-line staff are supported and that people are helped to move into safe and warm places to stay. Additional funding will allow the work that has taken place in our main cities to continue while we take the group's hard work forward.
“I was extremely impressed by the fast and effective work of organisations supporting those sleeping rough during last week's unprecedented and extreme winter weather and want to thank everyone involved for the work and commitment they have shown. It is now important that we build on this good work and these latest recommendations provide a blueprint to do that and reach our national priority to eradicate rough sleeping for good.
“The group's recommendations focus on improving advice and support for those sleeping rough, and ensuring that housing, funding and services are directed at those who need them most.
“They will play a vital role in meeting our commitment to end homelessness and transform temporary accommodation, backed by our £50 million fund – which is why we have accepted them all in principle, and will now work closely with partners to implement.”
The first set of recommendations were published in November 2017.
The group will next make recommendations focussed on transforming temporary accommodation by spring 2018 and ending homelessness for good, by summer 2018.