Minister backs call for new impact centre to improve homelessness prevention
The Scottish minister for local government and housing Kevin Stewart MSP has backed calls from Crisis and Glasgow Homelessness Network (GHN) for a new sector led centre to tackle homelessness through evidence-based solutions.
The proposed centre will build on Scotland’s international reputation for preventing and tackling homelessness, and will ensure ‘greater strides towards a future without homelessness’.
The Minister announced his support as a report, Ending homelessness faster by focusing on ‘what works’, was published last week. Based on consultations with more than 200 experts, including people with experience of homelessness, the report recommends a new ‘Centre for Homelessness Impact’, which would ‘unite organisations in building the infrastructure needed to work towards a future without homelessness’.
Crucially, the report emphasizes the importance of raising awareness of generating and using evidence and data to make better, more grounded decisions about our practices and interventions.
Funding is now being sought for the project with a view to opening the centre later this year.
Recommendations of report include:
- A new institution that is sector led and owned which champions and rewards the uses of evidence in policy and practice
- Build an evidence base about the behaviours, practices, policies and programmes that achieve the most effective – as opposed to most efficient – results
- Mobilise a strong cross-sector coalition of leaders committed to an ‘invest in what works’ policy agenda
- Empower people with diverse experiences of homelessness to be part of the work and approach.
Mr Stewart said: “I believe a strong robust evidence base is critical to developing and implementing effective policy. A central source and knowledge on homelessness, such as the Centre of Homelessness Impact can help inform the decisions of the Scottish Government and its partners and contribute to improving outcomes for people experiencing homelessness in Scotland.”
Margaret-Ann Brunjes, director of Glasgow Homelessness Network, said: “This is an ambitious vision and a refusal to accept that we can’t all do more to end homelessness in Scotland. This new Centre will give us the clearest pointers on how to prevent homelessness and improve the lives of people affected by it. In a time of reduced budgets, the Centre can instigate a shift of resources to evidence based solutions – because doing more of what works, means less of what doesn’t. We owe that to those braving the challenges of homelessness in Scotland today - people that we’ve also got alongside to guide and ground this work.”
Jon Sparkes, chief executive of Crisis, added: “Internationally, Scotland is seen by many as a leading light in the support of people affected by homelessness. But despite this, too many people remain without a home. The new Centre will help ensure that our values aren’t only articulated in our efforts and intentions but in our outcomes. If we can bridge the gap between knowing what needs to be done and effecting change on the ground, then we can make great leaps in the results we get from our work and investments.”