The recently-formed Action Group have been tasked with forming recommendations to bring to The Scottish Government to help end homelessness and rough sleeping in Scotland. They will also use their joint experience and influence to ensure these recommendations are successfully implemented. Their first and most pressing task is to come up with urgent recomendations to minimise rough sleeping this winter.
Who are they?
The Action Group is a team of experts from a range of industries and backgrounds, chosen for their expertise and experience. They are:
Jon Sparkes, Chief Executive, Crisis (Chair)
Russell Barr, Former Moderator, Church of Scotland
Maggie Brunjes, Glasgow Homeless Network
Mike Dailly, Govan Law Centre
David Duke, Street Soccer
Suzanne Fitzpatrick, Heriot Watt University
Josh Littlejohn, Social Bite
Lorraine McGrath, Simon Community/Street Wise
Susanne Miller, Glasgow City Council
John Mills, Fife Council & ALACHO
Shona Stephen, Queens Cross Housing Association
Alison Watson, Shelter Scotland
What will they do?
The Action Group will form practical recommendations to take to the Scottish Government, shaped around the following four questions:
- What can be done to reduce rough sleeping this winter (with or without additional resource?)
- How can we end rough sleeping?
- How can we transform the use of temporary acommodation?
- What needs to be done to end homelessness?
Recommendations for the first of these questions will be set out this month, with the rest by Spring 2018.
The Action Group will work, through events and workshops, with members of the homeless community in Scotland and people who work closely with them to form their recommendations. Once these have been delivered, they will continue to use their expertise and influence to ensure the successful implementation of practical solutions.
There will be a £50m Ending Homelessness Together Fund available in April 2018 to help fund implementation of any initiatives brought forward from the group.
Housing Minister Kevin Stewart said:
“The Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Action Group will be recommending immediate steps we can take to minimise rough sleeping, both this winter and for good, as well as ways to transform temporary accommodation.
“The members bring a wide range of expertise, experience and enthusiasm and I know they will provide invaluable advice. The group will be engaging with all partners who deal with homelessness, including in local authorties and the third sector, so we can harness the wealth of knowledge available.
“We are committeed to ending rough sleeping, preventing homelessness, and transforming outcomes for those who experience it. The action group and the new £50 million fund are important steps in achieving this.”
Jon Sparkes, Chief Executive of Crisis and chair of the new action group, said:
“I am delighted to be working with such a dedicated and knowledgeable group of people who have the common goal of ending homelessness in Scotland. Today, our focus is on action that can be taken this winter to support as many rough sleepers as possible so that fewer people have to face the coldest months of the year without a roof over their heads.
“The Scottish Government has set us an ambitious goal but I am confident that with the invaluable experience of this group, combined with the views of people who have experience of homelessness, we can and will make all forms of homelessness a thing of the past.”
We will continue to bring you updates from the Action Group. You can read the latest blog post fro John Sparkes here.