A White House advisor and top expert on homelessness will address Scotland’s leading housing and homelessness professionals at a major summit on the country’s historic 2012 commitment, it was announced today [Monday 16 January 2012].
Dr. Dennis P. Culhane, who has advised the White House and New York City on homelessness, will speak at Shelter Scotland’s one-day ‘Homelessness post-2012: Where next?’ conference in Edinburgh on 7 February.
The conference marks the final year before Scotland’s historic 2012 homelessness legislation comes in to effect with the landmark reforms giving every unintentionally homeless person the right to a home from 31 December 2012.
Speaking ahead of the conference, Dr Culhane said:
“Scotland’s groundbreaking commitment to end homelessness is serving as a model for how many other countries view homelessness solutions. In some ways Scotland and the United States share a similar vision in eradicating homelessness and that is reflected in the move to prevention, rather than cure.
“However, where homelessness cannot be prevented there must be an adequate safety net for those at risk of losing their homes. While our countries have very different policies regarding the extent of social housing, investment in socially-rented and affordable homes must be the number one priority.
“While the 2012 commitment showcases Scotland’s progressive homelessness legislation, its success can only be measured by the number of people lifted out of homelessness and given not only the legal right to a home, but the real chance of actually living in one.”
Dr. Culhane, who is attending the conference in association with Heriot-Watt university, is expected to draw comparisons between provisions of homelessness services in Europe and the United States, the impact his own research is having on White House homelessness policy and the recent shift in the US towards the Housing First prevention-centred approach which provides access to permanent housing at subsidised rents to homeless people.
Delegates will also hear from Housing Minister, Keith Brown MSP on future Scottish Government priorities and how homelessness will be kept high on the political agenda over the coming term.
Graeme Brown, Director of Shelter Scotland will chair the conference. He said:
“Scotland has received international acclaim for its groundbreaking homelessness legislation and has encouraged other nations to examine their own homelessness strategies. We are a nation leading the way but with less than a year to go before the reforms come in to effect, it is critical that the housing sector comes together to discuss best practice – including international lessons from countries such as the United States – and to set out new priorities for the post-2012 era.
“By bringing together policy makers, local authorities and housing and homelessness support agencies this conference will focus discussion on where we are and importantly where we want to be. Achieving the 2012 commitment will be a huge step in putting an end to homelessness in Scotland.”
Notes to Editors:
- Dennis Culhane is Professor of Social Policy at the University of Pennsylvania in the USA. He studies homelessness and assisted housing policy with a particular emphasis on the use of administrative data-sets. His research has contributed to a shift in public policies to address homelessness, including expansions of supported housing for people who are chronically homeless, and housing stabilisation programs for people who are recently homeless or at imminent risk of becoming homeless. His recent research includes studies of vulnerable youth and young adults, including those transitioning from foster care and residential treatment services. For interview requests, please contact Sabina Kadic-Mackenzie or Neil Baldwin on 0844 515 2442.
- Shelter Scotland provides expert support services, online advice and a free national helpline for everyone facing housing and homelessness difficulties. For advice and support visit http://scotland.shelter.org.uk or call 0808 800 4444.
- Spokespeople are available for interview – call the media office on 0844 515 2442. An ISDN line is available for broadcast interviews.
- Follow Shelter Scotland on Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/shelterinscotland Twitter – http://twitter.com/shelterscotland
Shelter Scotland believes everyone should have a home. We help people find and keep a home. We campaign for decent housing for all.
Contact: Sabina Kadic-Mackenzie
Phone: 0844 515 2442