Including Social Networks in Assessments
Assessment of social networks was one of the recommendations in the Homelessness Task Force report and, in the current climate of scarce resources, the high cost of tenancy failure and 2012 looming ever closer, identifying those at greatest risk and targeting appropriate support is essential. This is reinforced by the access to support for people facing homelessness in the Housing Act Scotland 2010.
Assessments are always a troublesome area - balancing the need for good information with some clients feeling that they are repeating their life story over and over again; the benefits of shared assessments with the problems of confidentiality, the difficulty of intruding in a very personal area – an area that some clients find more difficult to talk about than ill health, addictions or even criminal records - perhaps because we are not used to looking or talking about these social areas. However, some local authorities are including social networks in their homelessness assessments and occasionally through Housing Options or when assessing vulnerable tenants. Given the “soft” and “subjective” nature of the issue most have found it difficult to introduce effective assessments which can be easily used by frontline staff.
On this area of the website we have the information we have gathered so far:
- the summary report from our original local authority questionnaire which helped us prepare the successful bid for the Big Lottery funded Beyond Homelessness research
- case studies which highlight the benefits to be gained and the problems to be overcome
- examples of the materials used by local authorities and voluntary sector organisations.
Working with the Housing Options Hubs and drawing on the emerging findings from the Beyond Homelessness research we will be seeking to add to this and your comments and experiences are an essential part of this process. Please comment on what you find here and add to the site information on what you have found does or does not work and are willing to share with you colleagues.