Since devolution, Scotland has been perceived as an international trailblazer in homelessness policy. This is principally due to The Homelessness Etc. (Scotland) Act 2003 which led to the ‘priority need’ category being abolished in 2012, thus placing a statutory duty upon local authorities to provide settled accommodation to nearly all homeless households. This has been widely praised for extending citizenship rights to those experiencing homelessness. In contrast to this, this paper examines the experiences of young people (aged 16–24) where judgements on whether they were ‘housing ready’ delayed them being provided settled accommodation. Drawing on Bourdieu’s writing on rites of institution, it is shown how the symbolic categories deployed by support services and landlords operated as a means of ‘vision and division’, creating new social positions that lengthened the pathway out of homelessness. In a complimentary move, there was a fusion of support with control mechanisms to determine a person’s readiness for settled accommodation.
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