Homelessness prevention in Scotland
By: Shelter Scotland Published: April 2006
To meet the target of ensuring that all unintentionally homeless people are entitled to permanent accommodation by 2012, there is a need for prevention services to be stepped up. This paper looks at the measures currently in place.
- Homelessness prevention in Scotland (PDF 133.0 KB)
Shelter welcomes the increased attention being paid to the prevention of homelessness following the Ministerial Statement on the Abolition of Priority Need in December 2005. To meet the target of ensuring that all unintentionally homeless people are entitled to permanent accommodation by 2012, there is a need for prevention services to be stepped up in order that local authorities are better equipped to meet demand on their limited housing stock and for households to be able to avoid the crisis and disruption of homelessness.
The prevention of homelessness can encompass a huge array of activity; however, this paper concentrates on measures that are currently in place and those that are associated with housing, homelessness and related social policy and practice. This is mainly due to the fact that these are the areas in which central and local government are able to exert influence. In ensuring that prevention work is effective, a monitoring and evaluation framework is needed, within which such work operates, and Shelter welcomes the Scottish Executive's current attempts to develop this.
While welcoming more prevention work, there is a danger that an over emphasis on this type of activity can lead to people being denied their rights under homelessness legislation. This is a criticism that has been levelled in other parts of the UK, where an increase in prevention work has led to a perception of increased gatekeeping practices, which seek to prevent people making homeless applications rather than attempt to identify long term solutions to people's homelessness. This is a path Scotland needs to avoid.