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Social Bite

We are working with Wheatley Group and Edindex to develop a major “Housing First” Programme for almost 500 homeless people to be given a mainstream house and a structured support resource.

Through money we raised at our Sleep in the Park event, we will be funding a significant support for vulnerable people to sustain their new tenancies.

This support will be delivered through other charities and will include support with addiction, mental health, as well as practical things such as getting a bank account open or getting into employment.

The story so far...

The programme officially began in April 2019. Consortia in each of the five areas have worked to finalise local structures and processes in order to ramp up delivery of Housing First tenancies in 2019.

The progress to date (January 2020) is 216 people in homes with support throughout Scotland:

Edinburgh: 40 in tenancies

199 people continue to sustain their tenancies, which is 92% of the tenancies started.

At Social Bite we are working collaboratively to ensure everyone in Scotland has a safe place to call home, we believe this is not only a basic human right, but it is essential in creating a society where everyone has the opportunity to reach their potential.

Over the next 18 months, we have set an ambitious target of moving 830 people out of a cycle of homelessness and into a home of their own with the support they want to thrive.

This will begin in five locations across Scotland with groups of leading housing and support providers having been selected to deliver Housing First:


Edinburgh led by Cyrenians with a consortium comprised of Turning Point Scotland, Rock Trust, Streetwork, Bethany Christian Trust, Gowrie Care and Barony Care

The Housing First Scotland programme is delivered in partnership with Corra Foundation and Homeless Network Scotland. Since the Pathfinder started in April 2019, over 180 people now in a permanent home of their own, with more people to be housed over the coming months.

‘Housing First’ is simple and it aims to turn the existing homelessness system on its head. Rather than making extremely vulnerable people, often with complex needs, sleep rough or in unsupported places such as hostels or B&Bs. Housing First gives people a safe home of their own and then puts in a place a support structure to help them sustain their tenancy, re-integrate into society; and ultimately thrive. Housing First is a truly transformative programme that provides a human-centred, kind and compassionate response to the systemic issue of homelessness.

At Social Bite, we believe this project signifies the dawning of a new era in how Scotland responds to the systemic issue of homelessness. The project’s wider goal is to act as a catalyst for the adoption of Housing First across all 32 Scottish local authorities, so it becomes the default solution to tackling the systemic issue of homelessness. We aim to cause a structural shift away from the use of unsuitable temporary accommodation that perpetuates repeat homelessness, towards people being housed as quickly as possible in permanent homes with appropriate wraparound support.

The investment of £3 million, by Social Bite, in to the Housing First Pathfinders project saw a significant progression in a journey which began with Turning Point Scotland who ran a small Housing First pilot project almost ten years ago. The other significant contributor of funds is The Merchants House of Glasgow. The Scottish Government officially backed the programme and has pledged £4M to the first two years of the programme and an additional £2.5M for year three to support the transition to local authority mainstreaming of rapid rehousing.

The project will help to reduce the significant hidden costs of the current system, with international evidence showing that significant savings can be made to the public purse after an initial set up and transitional period of approximately two years.

Luckily, in Scotland we have literally thousands of decent, determined people across every sector working every day (and night) to deliver systems and solutions that make homelessness the rare, brief, urgent exception it ought to be.

We will collect evidence on the outcomes of the programme, particularly linked to tenancy sustainment, positive mental health improvements, and cost savings to local authorities, as well as the cost savings for police, criminal justice and health budgets. In line with this we will be seeking to work with local and national government to ensure that the funding for the support is ultimately mainstreamed.

How are people selected/referred for Housing First?

Referrals and selections usually come from organisations who are working at the frontline of homelessness. Those referred will be people with multiple support needs and a history of chronic homelessness who have been failed by the current system.

For further information, please get in touch
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This record was last modified on: 19 March 2020