Scottish local authorities have historically funded homelessness services and temporary accommodation through rent and services charges. The vast majority of these charges are covered by housing benefit, but changes to the benefits system means much of this funding source will disappear from 1 April 2017. This will leave many local authorities with large funding gaps for funding temporary accommodation.
Shelter Scotland wanted to raise the profile of this problem and so commissioned independent research to expose the extent of the potential problem, and understand what the impact may be on the quality of homelessness services in Scotland in future. Anna Evans Housing Consultancy was appointed to explore the problem and potential solutions with 15 local authorities.
The research findings were published early 2016, and were used by Shelter Scotland as a lobbying tool with Scottish Government. In early September 2016 the future Programme for Government was announced, with Scottish Government confirming that it will work with local government to develop an approach to funding temporary accommodation in the face of cuts to benefits funding.