Spotlight -

Turning Point Scotland Housing First Dumfries and Galloway

Turning Point Scotland is the biggest provider of services to people experiencing or at risk of Homelessness across Scotland. We deliver support to over 2800 individuals on any given day, and over 5,100 each year. This number increases when taking into account our services accessed through Justice or Alcohol and Other Drugs funding streams.

We believe that in many cases, Homelessness is entirely preventable. It is failures in the siloed and complex systems that we have designed to protect people that stops us from achieving this. Where Homelessness is not or cannot be, prevented the experience should be short lived, and we should meet that with a psychologically informed response. A menu of options should be available to individuals to prevent, or support someone to move on from Homelessness. This ensures we use a ‘no wrong door’ approach to accessing services.

In 2010 Turning Point Scotland invested in the UK’s first Housing First pilot project. This was in response to the clear evidence that there was a small population who were experiencing multiple and enduring support needs and were being failed – and worse, increasingly traumatised – by the homelessness system that is supposed to help them. Since then we have grown our services across multiple local authorities including Consortium partnerships with other agencies. We believe that a home is a human right and that an individual is best placed to deal with the issues that often made them homeless in the first place, in a place they can call home. We believe that Housing First should be the default model for people who are experiencing homelessness and have multiple and enduring support needs. We believe strongly on delivering Housing First with high fidelity to the 7 principles and working towards ensuring we deliver Systems Fidelity within the wider systems that Housing First effects or is effected by. We deliver the Housing First Academy focussed on the Communities of Practice Hub, Training Hub and Housing First Europe Hub We are also active co-founding members of the Housing First Europe Hub.

On the 1st August 2021, Turning Point Scotland in partnership with Dumfries and Galloway Council Housing department, launched the first Housing First Service to be delivered in Dumfries and Galloway. This service has been developed with a variety of key partners including NHS Specialist services, ADP, D&G HMPS, D&G CMHT and DGHP (Wheatley) who will be providing tenancies. Working together we are all committed to supporting this pilot to achieve better outcomes for those identified as potentially benefiting from this type of approach.

This 2-year Pilot service will operate in the Dumfries area only and aims to have 20 individuals with Multiple and Enduring Support Needs in tenancies and able to successfully maintain these tenancies.

A Digital Harm Reduction Toolkit, designed by Carezapp, will be utilised as part of a wider Harm Reduction response to help prevent and respond to individuals experiencing a crisis within Dumfries and Galloway. Carezapp allows staff to monitor real time information to prevent and respond to crisis situations for identified individuals the community. The toolkit consists of sensors that can monitor doors and windows, button presses, movement in a room or area and can capture the breathing rate of a person to identify concerns which is suitable for a social care setting. The system has a vital care sensor measure which captures the heart and respiration rate of the person within a 1-3 metre zone, however, this is not a medical device It also includes a tablet device which is locked to a pre-installed web application (app), and a WIFI router. It is intended to be used for monitoring individual’s general wellbeing and safety. It can send alerts to staff and selected others (Including family and or friends) about service user care and support, as well as potentially harmful side-effects of various activities, conditions or assessed risks.

Whilst this is an exciting opportunity to deliver such services in Dumfries, it also provides an opportunity to test the Housing First approach in a rural area with the learning from such providing valuable evidence for the successful support of some of the most vulnerable people in our community.

Click here to read the paper we released in February 2021 focussing on the lessons we have learned over the previous 10 years.


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