Housing First Edinburgh – 6-month update

By Chris Fitzgerald, Head of Service, Housing First Edinburgh.

Since we expanded our Housing First service in October 2021 we have set ourselves some big challenges and successfully navigated and overcome many obstacles that have emerged along the way, with the help of our #OneTeam approach across our Edinburgh service’s and the support of many partners in the sector.

We have supported 148 people through Housing First so far, many have moved into their own homes and over 96% have remained there.

This is in large part due to the approach of our dedicated team of staff. Their positive energy, care and optimism inspires hope in people even in the most difficult circumstances. Our staff consistently go above and beyond to ensure that everyone receives the care and support that they need.

However, Housing First is not all about statistics. It is about human experiences, relationships, stories and life journeys and the positive impact that providing compassion and care brings to the lives of people who access our service.

There is more to long term safety and security than simply providing a home, this is just the beginning of the journey. Housing First provides support that is just a phone call or visit away, from the warmth of our staff team that want to help with the complexities that arise on a journey out of homelessness.

It is the flexibility of Housing First that makes our service work, we understand what people need because we listen.

Sometimes due to the challenges in their lives, people end up back on the streets or homeless again. We can support and walk alongside them in this journey. We’ll support people to see their own strengths, achieve their goals (when they’re ready) and cope with trauma. As a person we supported through Housing First recently said to us:

“The Simon Community Scotland team have a good way of connecting with people.

They treat me like a human being, not like a number and always listen to me.”

Even our partners agree:

“The staff went above and beyond with a person who was at risk of losing their tenancy and managed to secure a place of safety in supported accommodation within a couple of days.”

One of the highlights from the last few months is we helped a number of people move in to our Simon Community Scotland homes and we became a private landlord. Look out for a blog on our SCS Homes in the near future.

The future of Housing First looks bright as we will continue to strengthen our relationships with the people we support. We’ll provide more Simon Community Scotland homes, expand our digital inclusion projects, strengthen existing links with partners and create new partnerships, embracing any opportunities that will benefit the people we support.