North East MSP Mike Rumbles has backed homeless charity Shelter’s campaign calling on the Scottish Government to develop and clear a comprehensive strategy to tackle homelessness in Scotland.
The charity want a new legislative framework and targets that will force the government to take action.
Mr Rumbles said: “Especially at this time of year we must do everything we can to end homelessness. No-one in Scotland should have to spend a single bitterly cold night on the streets without shelter.
“It is quite right that Shelter are calling on the Scottish Government to implement a new and ambitious strategy that will end this crisis once and for all.”
Notes for editors:
Far From Fixed Campaign briefing (Shelter): Our campaign shows why it is time to re-forge a commitment to tackling homelessness, and to reinvigorate that drive we had in 1999 to promote social justice and increasing wellbeing for everyone in Scotland. Our overarching and most important ask is for the Scottish Government to commit to delivering a new National Homelessness Strategy: a national, cross-departmental action plan which shows renewed commitment to tackling homelessness. We want clear leadership and accountability and to re-invigorate current expert and practitioner groups. A refreshed homelessness plan and programme would set new horizons for homelessness services and deliver on other top-ranking national priorities such as improving social justice, bridging the attainment gaps in schools and focusing public spending on prevention work. Equally important is that we believe a new strategic action plan should be co-produced with a range of stakeholders and partners, including people who have experienced, or are experiencing, homelessness. As such, Shelter Scotland have not set out a detailed blueprint for an action plan, but we have identified areas in our policy paper that we think a new strategy should cover and set out a series of recommendations to be considered. Among them are:
- Taking a fresh look at the legislative framework and rights that have not yet been implemented in Scotland. This should include updating the statutory guidance on preventing and responding to homelessness to dovetail better with the Housing Options Guidance.
- Local authorities should be encouraged and supported to develop ‘prevention pathways’ for certain groups most at risk of homelessness and continued prioritisation of homelessness prevention should be supported by ongoing analysis of statistics to increase understanding of effective prevention interventions.
- There must be a review of the funding of temporary accommodation in Scotland, leading to a new model that is not solely reliant on the levels of housing benefit or Universal Credit.
- A National Homelessness Strategy should set targets and approaches to reduce the use of B&B in all local authorities, particularly for vulnerable households, and reduce the length of stay in temporary accommodation for all homeless households.
- A new National Homelessness Strategy should inform the development of new social housing to meet the needs of homeless households
- The need to improve services and outcomes for homeless people with complex needs across Scotland should be a focus for a new National Homelessness Strategy. The Scottish Government should recommit to the target of reducing rough sleeping in Scotland.
- A National Homelessness Strategy should commit to the elimination of gate keeping practices and tackling the systemic problems in certain local authorities in meeting their homelessness commitments.