Housing associations and co-operatives need clarity about where funding will come from to meet the proposed expectation to provide housing support to tenants, the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA) said today (Wednesday 11th April).
The Federation has submitted its response to the Scottish Government’s consultation on Housing Support for Homeless Households.
Helen Barclay, SFHA Policy Adviser, said: “Housing support services, which can include practical advice, medical and addiction support, or more intensive, specialist help, are definitely beneficial – they help households who have been homeless to sustain a tenancy. This can help someone turn a ‘house’ into a ‘home’.
“This type of preventative approach is what has helped reduce homelessness in Scotland in recent months.
“However, this additional duty is being introduced for housing associations and co-operatives without clarity over the funding arrangements. We must ensure that a statutory duty to provide support does not mean that everyone gets only a basic, or uniform, level of support.
“Preventative services, such as help with addiction issues or financial management, will save a lot of money for the public purse, for example by avoiding costly interventions from the medical or justice systems further down the line. As such, our member housing associations and co-operatives need to have clarity about the funding which will allow them to provide these vital services. It is also important that they retain flexibility in responding to individuals’ needs.”
Ms Barclay continued: “Emphasis should be on support to achieve independence as quickly and effectively as possible, so that people spend as short a time as possible homeless, or threatened with homelessness. There must be enough support available to ensure a person has the right skills to sustain their home. Service providers must make the best use of available services and ensure these services are not withdrawn too soon.
“We welcome the Scottish Government’s three-step consultation process which affords the opportunity to comment on how the regulations for effective housing support might work.”
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1) SFHA is a member of the Scottish Government’s Homelessness 2012 Steering Group.
2) A copy of the SFHA’s response to the consultation Housing Support for Homeless Households is available on request.
3) The SFHA was established in 1975 and has around 170 members providing affordable housing and wider community services in Scotland, as well as a further 200 commercial members. The SFHA is owned by its membership and exists to support the work of housing associations and co-operatives in Scotland by providing services, advice and good practice guidance.
4) The SFHA is the voice of the principal builders and managers of new affordable housing for rent in Scotland. Housing Associations own and manage around 40% of the country’s affordable rented housing stock, over a quarter of a million homes across Scotland.
5) Housing associations and co-operatives are not-for-profit bodies regulated by the Scottish Housing Regulator.