What did the Scottish Government do because of the rising levels of homelessness?
Due to rising levels of homelessness, the Scottish Government set up the Homelessness Task Force to review the causes and nature of homelessness in Scotland. The first report of the Homelessness Task Force played a major role in shaping the homelessness provisions of the Housing (Scotland) Act 2001 by strengthening the legal rights of homeless people, establishing a strategic framework for preventing and tackling homelessness and creating a regulatory regime for homelessness services.
The final report was instrumental in the provisions that are contained in the Homelessness etc. (Scotland) Act 2003. The Homelessness Scotland Act 2003 Act also places a duty on local authorities to accommodate people who have been assessed as intentionally homeless.
The new legislation was implemented to radically overhaul the existing homelessness laws in Scotland, amending both the Housing (Scotland) Act 1987 and the Housing (Scotland) Act 2001. The amended act strengthened the legal rights of those that are/were homeless in Scotland by establishing a legal framework in respect of dealing with homelessness.
Whereas Finland has adopted a Housing First approach at a national level, in Scotland local authorities still relies on hostels, bed & breakfast accommodation temporary and supported accommodation.
Both countries housing policy in relation to homelessness has followed Charles Lindblom divergent theory with various processes being implemented at different stages, Finland currently has Housing First as their main program to eliminate homelessness and their next step is to improve the multidisciplinary working of the various agencies involved to enhance their homelessness prevention activities and to identify risks of homelessness at an early stage. In Scotland it started with the homeless task force and based on their work policies were implemented over time in incremental stages. Homelessness policy is a work-in-progress in each of the countries.