Developing a youth homeless mediation scheme in Scotland: a good practice guide
By: Shelter Scotland Published: July 2005
This briefing is aimed primarily at practitioners interested in establishing a mediation scheme focused on homeless young people. It is a starting point for those considering setting up a scheme, or building links with a provider of mediation services.
Mediation services to assist young homeless people have been a recent development in Scotland. The first scheme was not established until 2000 with the first major research study on mediation and homelessness not completed until 2001. The study found that only one of the agencies interviewed had a structured approach to using mediation to help homeless people return home, or re-establish relationships with family members. It also found that family or community mediation agencies were not catering to the particular needs of homeless people, and there was little evidence of partnership working between these agencies and homelessness services.
The Homelessness Task Force report in 2002 gave new impetus to the role of mediation in responding to homelessness and its report makes specific recommendations on potential models for mediation services.
However, in spite of the Task Force recommendation, the majority of homelessness strategies produced by Scottish councils in 2003 made no explicit mention of developing mediation schemes for this group. Councils were relatively slow in developing mediation schemes that catered exclusively to the needs of homeless people, and in particular young homeless people.
Recently this situation has begun to change. Many councils homelessness strategy action plans now include reference to the development of mediation services for homeless people as part of the range of services being provided.
The recently updated Code of Guidance on Homelessness could help progress. A new chapter on prevention of homelessness cites mediation as a possible tool in preventing family breakdown and resulting homelessness.
This briefing is aimed primarily at practitioners interested in establishing a mediation scheme focused on homeless young people. It is intended as a starting point for councils or others considering setting up a mediation scheme, or building or developing links with a provider of mediation services.
The briefing sets out:
- the aims and principles of successful mediation, and ways it can be especially useful
- advice in planning and establishing a mediation scheme for young homeless people
- some differing models of service delivery
- indicators useful for measuring successful outcomes for a mediation scheme.