Homeless being failed by complex system

Homeless

​Multiple needs of Scotland's homeless are not being met 

7th November 2018 by Robert Armour 0 Comments

Scotland’s homeless face a complex web of problems that need addressed to help them gain and sustain permanent accommodation.  

A new report published today shows how Scotland’s homelessness system is failing to support the multiple issues that people who are homeless face.

Housing and homeless charities say a picture is emerging of mental health issues, complex needs, loss of contact with people seeking housing support by local authorities and standards in temporary accommodation all requiring urgent attention to prevent Scotland’s homelessness crisis from deepening.

Shelter Scotland’s report, Getting Behind the Homelessness Statistics, concludes that prevention of homelessness is vital, saying that investment in support services to prevent a person or household becoming homeless is a more effective approach and better use of resources rather than just responding to people in crisis.

Graeme Brown, director of Shelter Scotland, said: “We know that there is a lot of excellent work being carried out by people working in homelessness services across Scotland and there is a commitment at national and local government levels to do more.

“However, this new analysis matches the experience of our frontline services, that mental health issues and complex needs among people presenting as homeless are on the rise and is of increasing concern to us. 

“Combined with rising repeat homelessness and local authorities losing contact with more than one in seven people who approach them for housing help, we feel that, without urgent action now, there is a clear risk of homelessness in Scotland continuing to rise and having an even more profound effect on people facing homelessness.”

The report also highlights that despite a lot of improvements across the sector in recent years, a lack of support and joined-up response to homelessness across Scotland is leaving people falling through the gaps. It also identifies a need for a better and more responsive housing system and stresses the importance of having a strong housing safety net.

Brown added: “It is vital that local authorities are held to account and supported to reduce the practice of housing people in unsuitable accommodation, particularly in instances where it is illegal – for instance, extended stays in bed and breakfast accommodation.”

“From health to housing support and homeless prevention services, significant investment and cross-organisational working is vital to help tackle many of the issues highlighted in the report.

“And of course, Scotland also needs to build enough social and affordable housing of the right sort in places where people want to live to meet growing demand.”