Eradicating Core Homelessness in Scotland's Four Largest Cities: Providing an Evidence Base and Guiding a Funding Framework

Social Bite commissioned Heriot-Watt University's Institute for Social Policy, Housing and Equalities Research (I-SPHERE) to conduct research to provide an evidence base for the disbursement of these funds to relevant service provider organisations in Scotland's four largest cities (Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee and Aberdeen). 

A central purpose of this research was therefore to inform a 'Funding Framework' in four key (overlapping) areas of interest to Social Bite: rough sleeping; substance misuse; temporary accommodation; employability and independent living. It was further intended to provide an evidence-informed framework within which sector-led solutions can be joined up in a coordinated effort to eradicate 'core' homelessness, and placed in the broader context of the government and local authority role in collaborative solutions.

 This report starts from the premise that private charitable giving cannot provide a comprehensive and sustainable solution to homelessness in Scotland. That can only emerge from a system-wide approach and policy commitment to addressing the strucural causes of homelessness, in particular poverty and inadequate affordable housing supply1 . However, it is hoped that the evidence provided in this report, 1 Bramley, G. & Fitzpatrick, S. (2017), ‘Homelessness in the UK: who is most at risk?’, Housing Studies. ii together with the profile-raising activities of Social Bite, can help to shape the public debate in a progressive direction that makes positive policy responses more likely.

It is also intended that the additional resources generated by Social Bite fundraising will be deployed on evidence-based practical solutions that will, if they prove effective, be mainstreamed as part of the public policy response in the longer-term. In this report we focus on 'core' homelessness, by which we mean the more extreme forms of homelessness which the majority of stakeholders would agree represent the most pressing and immediate problems, i.e. those people we can say are ‘homeless now’.

The focus in the present report on core homelessness is intended to galvanise action to resolve the most immediate crisis situations that people are facing right now, while bearing in mind the points above about the broader structural context that will ultimately determine the levels and distribution of homelessness in Scotland. 

This rapid turnaround project commenced on 1st July 2017 and was completed by the of end September 2017. It drew on a range of recent and ongoing statistical and evidence review work being undertaken by I-SPHERE for Crisis, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, and Lankelly Chase Foundation. The primary data collection element comprised six focus groups with service providers across the four cities (two each in Edinburgh and Glasgow, one in Dundee and one in Aberdeen covering Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire). 

Focus group participants represented local authorities, health and social care providers, hostels and other temporary accommodation (TA) providers, and a wide range of agencies supporting people with multiple and complex needs. In all, 46 organisations participated in the study. 

Publication Date: 
Heriot-Watt University
United Kingdom