Ian Irvine's Story

Author: Ian Irvine
Ian Irvine's Story

Ian Irvine spent time in the USA seeking to learn from the success of the Housing First model, which supports homeless individuals to move towards independent housing.

The Fellowship

In 2013 Ian Irvine was a senior manager at Turning Point Scotland, operating care services for individuals experiencing homelessness and/or drug, alcohol or mental health issues. 

Inspired by the success of the USA’s Housing First approach, Turning Point Scotland implemented Housing First in 2009. As well as being the first Housing First project developed in the UK, it was one of the approaches internationally to explicitly target homeless people involved in active drug use.

Ian travelled to the USA and Canada to develop a further understanding of the delivery of the Housing First model. His aim was to expand the Glasgow scheme to support individuals with a greater range of needs, including vulnerable women and veterans.

The Results

Following Ian’s Fellowship and the success of the Housing First pilot, Glasgow City Homelessness services are now looking to make Housing First a major part of their Homelessness resources strategy. On their request, Ian was seconded to assist them review their Homelessness policies, practices and resources, particularly their impact on especially vulnerable or challenging individuals and communities.

Turning Point has developed close links with the Community Heath Partnership via the University of Strathclyde, as well as veterans’ organisations and housing associations.

In 2015 Turning Point Scotland was awarded a five-year Big Lottery Fund grant to extend the successful Glasgow pilot into Renfrewshire and East Dunbartonshire, with a focus on individuals who are experiencing mental health issues or are involved in drug misuse.

Ian became a member of the International Housing First Network and has been invited to contribute to a book on Housing First being developed jointly by Pathways (Housing First USA) and New York University. He has given workshops in Scotland, Lisbon, Paris and Belfast, and continues to receive requests for information from within UK and Europe.

Ian retired in June 2015.