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The Chartered Institute of Housing is the independent voice for housing and the home of professional standards

Blog: The future of SHASC


In the face of funding cuts for the Scottish Housing and Support Conference (SHASC), the SHASC Working Group is seeking your views on the future of this annual event.

The Scottish Housing and Support Conference has been an annual fixture of the Scottish conference calendar for over twenty-five years. SHASC is unique in at least two respects.

1. It is the only national event that as its core purpose brings together service users, providers and policy makers to discuss national strategic and practice issues

2. SHASC is a not-for-profit event that is organised by a consortium of organisations with an interest in housing and support, and has included:

Age Scotland, CIH Scotland, Homeless Action Scotland, Housing Support Enabling Unit, Housing Options Scotland, St Joseph’s Services, SAY Women, Scottish Women’s Aid, Scotland’s Housing Network, SFHA and SHARE.

For many years, SHASC has been financially supported by the Scottish Government in order to facilitate the engagement of service users in the conference planning process and their attendance at the national Conference itself. However, in 2017, Scottish Government withheld their financial support of SHASC.

This is causing the Planning Group, made up of members of staff of the organisations listed above, to think long and hard about the future of the event.

The housing and support world is a very different place in 2017 than it was more than twenty-five years ago when the first SHASC was organised. One major change has been the degree and nature of involvement of users in housing and support service planning and management. In the early ‘90’s, genuinely user-led services were more of a novelty than they are now, when service users should be at the heart of service planning and management and that place supported by regulation. It made the Working Group members wonder, ‘Is there even a need for SHASC in 2017, or has the world moved on?’

As we mull the future of SHASC, we really need to know the views of housing and support providers and of course, service users. Does SHASC still serve a useful purpose, and if so, what is that purpose? If SHASC does still have a purpose, is an annual one-day conference the best way of meeting the needs of the sector?

Over the next few months, SHASC Working Group members will be going out and about to existing meetings of housing support users to ask this question. Does SHASC still have a purpose in supporting the sector and if so, how can we best fulfil that purpose?

And we’d also like everybody with an interest in housing and support, providers, users, policy-makers, etc, to complete a very short online survey about the future of SHASC, by clicking the link here. It only takes a few minutes to complete at most. Your response could just make the difference to SHASC’s future.

We’d like to thank you in advance for your time in completing the survey. We will email everybody who completes the survey and provides their contact details to let you know the decision of the Planning Group, following this period of consultation.

Many thanks,

The SHASC Working Group.

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