Prevention of Homelessness Duties – A Joint Scottish Government and COSLA Consultation

Imagine a world where homelessness is rare, brief and unlikely to happen again. It might be difficult to imagine, but it is not impossible. In most cases, homelessness is preventable.

Scotland has strong housing rights for those experiencing homelessness, but we know that experiences of homelessness can go beyond the need for housing and can involve a range of unmet needs. It has been identified that we can do more at an earlier stage to prevent someone reaching a housing crisis that results in the trauma and indignity of homelessness. That is what the proposals in this consultation intend to address, underpinned by new legal duties on public bodies for the prevention of homelessness, which we intend to take forward through a Housing Bill introduced in year 2 of the Parliament.

At the request of Scottish Government, Crisis convened the Prevention Review Group, chaired by Professor Suzanne Fitzpatrick to develop recommendations for legal duties on Scottish local authorities and wider public bodies to prevent homelessness, and how these might be best implemented. The recommendations in the final report of the Prevention Review Group were published in early 2021, and provide the framework for this consultation document.