Today, Shelter Scotland launched their new homelessness campaign – Homelessness: Far From Fixed. The campaign aims to show how homelessness can happen to anyone in Scotland and that unexpected life events can lead to difficulties in keeping a secure accommodation. It also aims to draw attention to the fact that homelessness is more than just people sleeping rough on the streets, and that this is actually only the visible tip of the iceberg.
Shelter Scotland are using this campaign to ensure that any progress made in Scotland does not begin to slip back given the impact of austerity, sweeping cuts to local budgets and further cuts to social security. This is coupled with the fact that right now in Scotland we have a housing crisis, making the impact of these cuts even worse. The result is the most vulnerable groups in society end up at a higher risk of losing the roofs over their heads.
The campaign is right to highlight that homelessness is far from fixed, and more can be done in Scotland to tackle the blight not having such a basic human right can have on a person’s life. It impacts an individual’s life expectancy, health, employability, education, and wider wellbeing. It is shocking that homelessness is still such a major issue in 21st century Scotland.
Shelter Scotland have acknowledged that recent independent research showed that 75% of people in Scotland agree that homelessness is a problem and 54% agreed that the Scottish Government could do more to tackle it.
I support the campaign’s calls for:
- A safe and affordable home for everyone
- Ensuring help is available foreveryone to keep or find a home
- A strong housing safety net to catch people if they do lose their home
- And, that no-one should ever have to sleep rough on Scotland’s streets
I also support the development of a new National Homelessness Strategy for Scotland that works across government departments to tackle and prevent homelessness.
It is important to focus on homelessness to ensure that such a disgraceful thing is eradicated in modern Scotland.
This ties in to two things I have called for in Scotland, a national house build plan and a comprehensive anti-poverty strategy. It is about time the Scottish Government stepped up to the mark and fully tackled one of the great shames still happening today in Scotland.
You can also find more information about the campaign and sign up online at: http://www.shelterscotland.org/farfromfixed
Statistics from Shelter Scotland
It is estimated that around 5,000 people sleep rough on our streets over the year in Scotland. In addition, nearly 30,000 people across the country were assessed as homeless last year by their local authority. This means that every 20 minutes a household in Scotland becomes homeless. Today, there are more than 10,000 households living in temporary accommodation and, shamefully for us all, tomorrow morning more than 5,000 children in Scotland will wake up without a home of their own. Beyond these evidenced numbers, there is an unknown number of people sofa surfing, staying with friends or living in unsuitable or unsafe housing. These are all types of homelessness in Scotland today.