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Who we've helped and how

Shelter Scotland is proud of its work in both changing housing policy and its front line services for people in housing need. Together they tackle bad housing. Below is an example of our policy, campaigns and services teams working together.

How Shelter Scotland teams work together

When our teams work together it means our clients' experiences inform Government policy. This happened when we gave evidence to a Scottish Parliament investigation into youth homelessness. The result was that clients' stories helped to shape the Government's youth homelessness policy. The following teams were involved:

  • Policy and Research
  • Safe and Sound
  • Campaigns and Public Affairs.

How we got involved

We were invited to speak to the Scottish Parliament's Equal Opportunities Committee. This was part of their investigation into youth homelessness. We were invited on the back of our reputation as the homelessness charity in Scotland.

The invitation was received by the Campaigns and Public Affairs team because of their work with MSPs and cross-party groups. They make sure MSPs are aware of the housing issues in their area and across Scotland, and give them the opportunity to speak to our service users where appropriate. The team builds relationships with key politicians to promote our work, services and campaigns. As well as talking to MSPs about housing policy and spending, they also target local authority councillors to raise awareness and encourage them to tackle homelessness and bad housing in their area.

This invitation was passed to the Policy and Research team. The experience and skills of this team meant they would be best placed to deliver the evidence. They knew they needed strong input and support from the Safe and Sound service. Safe and Sound works with young people at risk of running away and homelessness in the Dundee area.

How did we find out clients' stories?

The Senior Policy Officer spent a full day with the Safe and Sound team to:

  • discuss what they felt would be important to communicate
  • gather real-life examples of clients that the services has helped
  • draw together both the team's achievements for clients and their overall outcomes.

These client perspectives plus existing policy understanding meant the Senior Policy Officer could attend the Equal Opportunities Committee evidence session and answered questions from MSPs. She was supported by the:

  • Public Affairs Officer
  • Head of Policy and Research
  • Safe and Sound Project Manager.

Safe and Sound is delivered by Shelter Scotland, and also Family Mediation Fife and Relationships Scotland, who were also represented on the panel at the evidence session.

What happened after we gave evidence?

Several newspapers covered an issue raised by Shelter Scotland at the Committee, and this was supported by the Media team. This coverage:

  • raised awareness of the issue – through campaigns, the Campaigns and Public affairs team make sure public opinion is informed and at times challenged by bringing aspects of bad housing and homelessness to the attention of the public
  • contributed to Shelter Scotland's reputation as an authoritative voice on housing issues.

After the evidence was given to the Equal Opportunities Committee, the Manager of the Safe and Sound team also contributed to the written response to Ministers' comments.