Attendees and apologies
- Jon Sparkes (CEO Crisis) (Chair)
- Russell Barr (Church of Scotland)
- Maggie Brunjes (GHN)
- Mike Dailly (Govan Law Centre)
- David Duke (Street Soccer)
- Professor Suzanne Fitzpatrick (Heriot Watt University)
- Josh Littlejohn (Social Bite)
- Lorraine McGrath (Simon Community/ Streetwork)
- Susanne Miller (Glasgow City Council)
- John Mills (Fife Council & ALACHO)
- Shona Stephen (Queens Cross Housing Association)
- Alison Watson (Shelter Scotland).
- Kevin Stewart MSP (Minister for Local Government and Housing)
- Lesley Fraser (Director of Housing and Social Justice, Scottish Government)
- David Signorini (Deputy Director, SG Better Homes Division)
- Catriona MacKean (Head of SG Housing Support & Homelessness)
- Marion Gibbs (Team Leader, SG Homelessness Team)
- Lynsey McKean (SG Homelessness Team)
- Lynn McMath (Crisis).
Items and actions
The Minister for Local Government and Housing welcomed the members of the Group to its first meeting, and thanked them all for agreeing to participate. He spoke about the broader aims and also immediate challenge the Group has been asked to address: ‘What can be done to reduce and minimise rough sleeping this winter?’ He emphasised the need to work quickly and put those with direct, personal experiences of homelessness at the heart of the work of the Group.
2. Roundtable introductions:
The members of the Group introduced themselves and gave an overview of their background and experience within the homelessness sector which will be important to the work of this Group.
3. Presentation from Professor Suzanne Fitzpatrick:
This comprehensive presentation focused on what we already know about homelessness and the evidence on what works to prevent, respond or solve it. Suzanne provided an overview of the main risk factors for homelessness in the UK. She also set out some analysis of initiatives which have been tested in Scotland, England and internationally in responding to homelessness.
4. Discussion and clarification of the 4 questions:
The Group then discussed how it would manage the four questions it has been tasked with providing solutions:
- What can be done to reduce rough sleeping this winter?
- How can we end rough sleeping?
- How can we transform the use of temporary accommodation?
- What needs to be done to end homelessness?
5. Outcomes from discussion of question 1:
Members discussed a number of solutions which could help to reduce rough sleeping this winter. These were clustered into themes under the following headings:
- Mobilising person centred approaches for those at risk of rough sleeping this winter.
- Community based social provision for people during the day.
- Role of local communities in responding to the need to address rough sleeping this winter.
- The role of Night Shelters in responding to rough sleeping this winter.
- Structural factors which have a role to play in addressing rough sleeping this winter.
- Public perceptions of rough sleeping and how to shift this in a way which will help address rough sleeping this winter.
ACTION: Group members volunteered to lead on one or more of the cluster groups and will undertake rapid further work in order to report back at the next meeting. For each cluster group members were asked to undertake work (drawing on others within and outwith the Action Group as necessary) to:
- Work up potential solutions and bring back proposals for the next meeting.
- Focus on minimising rough sleeping this winter.
- Consider their work in light of the evidence which suggests rough sleeping is primarily an issue within the four main cities (Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh and Glasgow) but taking account of the fact that there is also a rural dimension.
- Consider how Scottish Government officials can assist. Further detail on the cluster groups, setting out the leads for each of the groups can be found at Annex A.
6. Round table discussion to discuss incorporating direct personal experiences of homelessness
The Group discussed the range of ways which could be used to incorporate the direct, personal experiences of homeless people into its work. ACTION: Maggie Brunjes will circulate a methodology on involving people with direct, personal experience of homelessness in the work of this Group in advance of the next meeting.
7. Communication with wider sector
In order for the Group to engage more broadly with partners, it discussed setting up a stakeholder session to provide an opportunity for others with a contribution to participate. In addition it would provide stakeholders and partners with an opportunity to hear from the Action Group about the work that has taken place at its first meeting and from the Scottish Government about the broader commitment to tackle homelessness and rough sleeping as a crucial part of building a Fairer Scotland.
Members agreed to a workshop to take place on the afternoon of the 2nd of November.
ACTION: An item on objectives and measures of success for the Group will be added to the agenda of the next meeting. The next meeting of the Group will take place on the morning of the 2nd of November.
Group members will undertake rapid further work in advance of the next meeting on 2 November as set out below:
|Mobilising person centred approaches for those at risk of rough sleeping this winter||Role of Housing Options Personalised budgets Triage approaches By name lists Assertive outreach Rapid staff training/cultural change Better coordination (council/health/prisons; 3rd sector; community; church networks)||Lorraine McGrath|
|Community based social provision for people during the day||Libraries Social daytime provision Choice and diversity of options||David Duke|
|Role of local communities in responding to need to address rough sleeping this winter||Information Educating local members Community hosting||Josh Littlejohn Shona Stephen Suzanne Fitzpatrick|
|The role of Night Shelters in responsing to rough sleeping this winter||Minimum standards What would current providers do with additional resource Better coordination (council/health/prisons; 3rd sector; community; church networks)||Susanne Millar Mike Dailly Maggie Brunjes|
|Structural factors which have a role to play in addressing rough sleeping this winter||Cross border allocation Challenging bans/curfews Challenging view of B&B as intrinsically bad option||John Mills Susanne Millar|
|Public perceptions of rough sleeping and how to shift this in a way which will help address rough sleeping this winter||Jon Sparkes Alison Watson Shona Stephen David Duke Russell Barr|