Radically Divergent? Homelessness Policy and Practice in Post-devolution Scotland

Emma Davidson, Hal Pawson

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This paper reviews the evolution of homelessness policy and practice in Scotland since the establishment of the Scottish Parliament in 1999. It uses, as its reference point, simultaneous developments in England. It critically examines the practicability of flagship Scottish government policy to widen the remit of the homelessness legislation - effectively an extension of citizenship rights. This is compared with the more 'consumerist' tilt of the New Labour housing policy in England. At the same time, the paper draws attention to the parallels in the recent development of homelessness policy in the two jurisdictions; in the promotion of a 'strategic approach' to homelessness on the part of local authorities and the associated advocacy of 'prevention-focused practice'. Drawing on empirical research in both Scotland and England, the paper compares and contrasts approaches to homelessness prevention north and south of the border, and explores the limits of 'devolutionary divergence' in this policy area.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)39-60
JournalInternational Journal of Housing Policy
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 22 Jan 2008


  • homelessness
  • Devolution
  • Social Policy
  • social exclusion


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