Everyone is Deserving: The Significance of Scotland’s 2012 Housing Rights Commitment
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Everyone is Deserving: The Significance of Scotland’s 2012 Housing Rights Commitment

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A presentation given by Isobel Anderson, UK at a FEANTSA Research Conference on "Access to Housing for Homeless People in Europe", York, September 2012

A presentation given by Isobel Anderson, UK at a FEANTSA Research Conference on "Access to Housing for Homeless People in Europe", York, September 2012

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    Everyone is Deserving: The Significance of Scotland’s 2012 Housing Rights Commitment Everyone is Deserving: The Significance of Scotland’s 2012 Housing Rights Commitment Presentation Transcript

    • University of Stirling,Scotland Everyone is deserving: the significance of Scotland’s 2012 homelessness commitment Isobel Anderson, School of Applied Social Science, University of Stirling, Scotland, UK European Research Conference Access to Housing for Homeless People in Europe York, 21st September 2012
    • Outline (Research for Shelter Scotland) Context – the Scottish homelessness legislation 2000-2 Review and ‘the 2012 homelessness commitment’ Assessing progress - methods Ten years on – progress at national level and local perspectives Implementation – successes, constraints and challenges How significant? European Research Conference Access to Housing for Homeless People in Europe York, 21st September 2012
    • Scottish homelessness legislation (1977,1987 Acts) Duty on local authority to secure housing if:1. Household is homeless by legal definition2. Household is in priority need3. Household has not become homeless intentionally4. Household has connection with local authority Usually ‘social housing’ – council or housing association/registered social landlord (non- profit sector) European Research Conference Access to Housing for Homeless People in Europe York, 21st September 2012
    • Who was in priority need (deserving)?2005 Code of guidance - household contains: Pregnant woman (or recent miscarriage abortion) and/or dependent children Vulnerable person: old age; mental illness; personality disorder; learning disability; physical disability; chronic ill health; discharged from hospital, prison or forces; ‘other special reason’. Homeless in emergency: fire, flood, disaster Age 16-17 Age 18-20 & at risk of: sexual or financial exploitation: serious alcohol/drug misuse Age 18-20 and been looked after by state Risk of domestic violence Risk/victim of harassment/violence: religion; sexual orientation; race/ethnic identity. European Research Conference Access to Housing for Homeless People in Europe York, 21st September 2012
    • Who was not in priority need?(undeserving) Adults/Adult households aged 21- 60/65 who did have any of the priority need characteristics Mainly single people of working age, mainly men Discretionary decision making – excluding some who should have been priority need? European Research Conference Access to Housing for Homeless People in Europe York, 21st September 2012
    • What is the 2012 homelessness commitment? 1999 – housing policy and homelessness devolved to Scottish Parliament 2000-2002 – Homelessness Task Force Review  Evidence base – questioned legitimacy of priority need test  Recommended its abolition Homelessness, etc. Scotland Act 2003, set target date for 2012 ‘Rights possessed by those assessed as being in priority need should be extended to all those assessed as homeless and the priority need distinction should be eliminated’Recognises – everyone needs a home (deserving) European Research Conference Access to Housing for Homeless People in Europe York, 21st September 2012
    • Assessing progress - methods Review of literature Review of legislative, policy and practice change Review of national homelessness statistics Qualitative discussion groups with local authorities, housing associations, homelessness NGOs Observation of policy and practice communities – ten years European Research Conference Access to Housing for Homeless People in Europe York, 21st September 2012
    • Ten years on – national progressMarch 2011-April 2012 91% of applicants assessed as homeless awarded priority need (see table – next slide) Single people (26-60/65) now largest priority group 73% priority homeless receive local authority, housing association or private let Temporary accommodation: three-fold increase since 2002; includes ordinary social housing; waiting times not clear. Share of social housing lettings to homeless households = 43% (increased acceptances, fewer vacancies) European Research Conference Access to Housing for Homeless People in Europe York, 21st September 2012
    • Ten years on: national progressJan – March 2012 % homeless households assessedNumber of Scottish local as in priority needauthorities 14 (Priority need test abolished) 100 9 90-99 6 80-89 1 70-79 2 60-69 TOTAL = 32 National Average = 91 European Research Conference Access to Housing for Homeless People in Europe York, 21st September 2012
    • Ten years on – council perspectives We have met the target…massive commitment…increased resources and service review Not met target – focused on prevention Improved needs assessment procedures Lack of settled accommodation, long periods in temporary accommodation Private sector – not equivalent solution European Research Conference Access to Housing for Homeless People in Europe York, 21st September 2012
    • Ten years on – housing association perspectives Broadly supportive – debates about conflict with other applicant groups Reviewed procedures for managing referrals from local authorities Implemented flexible lettings policies – challenged by Westminster policy change Concern about London-centric welfare reform European Research Conference Access to Housing for Homeless People in Europe York, 21st September 2012
    • Implementation: contextual change Political Power – Scotland 2007; UK 2010 Post 2008 economic crisis – housing market/system Policy change in Scotland (devolved powers):  Homelessness prevention, Housing Options  Greater emphasis on private rented sector  Debate – who is social housing for? Policy change in UK (reserved powers)  Punitive housing benefit changes  Wider welfare reform  Austerity measures European Research Conference Access to Housing for Homeless People in Europe York, 21st September 2012
    • Conclusions: successes and constraints Considerable progress towards abolishing priority need test Provision of settled accommodation a much greater challenge Scottish Government drives local practice – policy shift without legal change Risk of losing social housing as effective solution UK welfare reform undermining progress Scottish approach European Research Conference Access to Housing for Homeless People in Europe York, 21st September 2012
    • How significant? Social justice – ‘right to housing’?  Removes discrimination, increased equality in access to housing  Policy discussion highly technical, little about vision  Social cohesion – impact on meeting other housing needs? Rational, evidence based policy over ten years?  Survived political change – in principal  Incremental tweaks – policy shifts, policy subversion? Moving forward? Balance strong legal framework with effective prevention? European Research Conference Access to Housing for Homeless People in Europe York, 21st September 2012