Things are always moving and changing in the housing management and homelessness fields and GWSF has been active in a number of policy and practice issues lately.
The Housing (Scotland) Act 2014 contained a range of legislative changes to the allocations and tenancy provisions for social housing. These included changes to succession, assignation and joint tenancy rights, extended grounds for giving short Scottish Secure Tenancies to anti-social tenants and applicants, more flexibility around dealing with applications from home owners, and a new streamlined eviction process for people convicted of anti social behaviour.
In recent months the Forum has been commenting on Scottish Government draft guidance, and expects to see final copies of the guidance published some time in the late summer or autumn 2016. The new provisions will come in at different times, but none will be introduced before 2017, except of course for the abolition of the right to buy, which came into force at the beginning of August 2016. In the meantime our short guide to the Act’s provisions can be seen here:
Housing management services feature heavily in Scottish Social Housing Charter reports and you can see more information on GWSF’s own Charter reports on the Regulation and Charter page of our Campaigns and Policy section of the website.
Homelessness and housing options
With relatively little legislative change in the homelessness area recently, GWSF’s focus has very much been on practical matters, with a particular and long-running focus on trying to help improve the homelessness referral system in Glasgow. From January 2016 we have had a part-time member of staff – Paul Tonner – based in the new Housing Access Team which has been set up to focus these efforts. Paul’s post was funded from contributions from 15 member associations keen to support efforts to improve the system so that associations could play their full part in making access to housing easier for homeless people in the City. This work is ongoing and the Forum is very much hoping to see real evidence of change well before the end of March 2017.
Paul Tonner can be contacted by email via firstname.lastname@example.org or on 0141 287 9924.
The increasing emphasis on adopting the hosing options approach is gradually stretching beyond local authority homelessness services into the housing association sector, i.e. for associations to adopt when dealing with housing and transfer list applicants. In Glasgow there has been a rollout of the training package (overseen by GCC and Glasgow HA) which introduces associations to the process – this is mainly funded by participating associations. The rollout has met with much success, but does present particular challenges for smaller associations, and the Forum is aware of the need to work with partners to find a solution which can work well and proportionately for all its members in the City.