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Temporary accommodation: the challenges and solutions

This one-day Shelter conference, held in Glasgow on 29 November 2006, looked at the current challenges being faced by local authorities and partner organisations in meeting the duty to provide temporary accommodation to all homeless households.

Temporary accommodation is the single biggest part of the homelessness services provided by local authorities and meeting these duties continue to be among the hardest for council's to achieve. Prior to the conference we conducted an online poll to establish the priorities for the day's agenda, read the findings of this research here.

Morning plenary session: setting the scene

Jill Stewart, Chief Housing Officer with Moray Council, chaired the event and the morning plenary session was intended to give an overview of current initiatives and set the scene for the day. James Jopling, Head of External Relations at Shelter Scotland, gave the first presentation, providing an overview of the temporary accommodation research. James was followed by John Flaherty, Team Leader (Homelessness and Special Needs) of Fife Council who provided an outline of Fife's approach to developing and putting into practice a strategy for temporary accommodation.

You can download their presentations here:

Challenges and solutions
James Jopling, Head of External Relations, Shelter Scotland

Developing and implementing a strategy
John Flaherty, Team Leader, Homelessness and Special Needs, Fife Council

Workshop sessions

For the rest of the morning, delegates took part in smaller workshop sessions examining specific areas of policy and practice in temporary accommodation services.

Providing support in temporary accommodation
Nicola Thom, East Ayrshire Council

Implementing the unsuitable accommodation order
David Smith, City of Edinburgh Council

Furnished temporary accommodation provision
Lawrence O'Neill, North Ayrshire Council

The future for hostels and shared accommodation
Craig Dunlop, Shelter Scotland

Afternoon plenary session: increasing the options

The focus of the afternoon presentations was to look at ways in which organisations can increase the options in responding to dealing with the demand for temporary accommodation. Andrew Morrison, Director of Policy and Business Development at Orchard and Shipman, gave a presentation on the private sector leasing scheme that has resulted in a significant increase of properties available to the Council in Edinburgh to meet temporary accommodation duties.

Graeme Russell, Director of Housing with Dunedin Canmore Housing Association, provided details of the range of ways that RSLs can assist councils in the provision of temporary accommodation.

Finally, Catherine Jamieson, Head of the Glasgow Homelessness Partnership, spoke on the range of temporary accommodation options being developed in Glasgow and the ongoing challenges of meeting temporary accommodation duties to a diverse range of client groups.

You can download their presentations here:

Private sector leasing and temporary accommodation
Andrew Morrison, Director of Policy and Business Development, Orchard and Shipman

RSLs: increasing the options
Graeme Russell, Director of Housing, Dunedin Canmore Housing Association

Temporary accommodation options in Glasgow
Catherine Jamieson, Head of Glasgow Homelessness Partnership

The remainder of the day gave delegates the opportunity to explore some of the initiatives and issues that had been highlighted over the course of the day and relate these to their own experience and practice in discussion groups facilitated by Shelter Scotland staff.

Much of the material that was discussed over the course of the day is represented in Shelter's ten point action plan for temporary accommodation. This document will be followed up in the new year with a substantial briefing on temporary accommodation, which will provide an overview of the various responses that are being developed in relation to meeting these duties and will prove to be invaluable to local authorities in helping to ensure that temporary accommodation is available to all those who require it.