Crisis launches manifesto to end homelessness in Scotland

Written by Jenni Davidson on 15 March 2016 in News

Homelessness charity Crisis has launched a manifesto to end homelessness ahead of the Scottish Parliament elections
 

A homelessness charity is calling on political parties to create a new cross-departmental strategy to tackle homelessness.

Homelessness charity Crisis believes that with cuts to local authority budgets a new national strategy underpinned by clear outcomes is needed to maintain momentum in tackling homelessness.

It is also calling for more investment in early intervention to prevent people becoming homeless or homelessness becoming entrenched and for a 14-day time limit on temporary accommodation.


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Stays in temporary accommodation are typically over seven months at present, and can be up to two years.

Crisis launched its Scottish election manifesto at the SNP conference on Saturday and will do so more formally today.

The charity’s ‘manifesto to end homelessness’ has five points: developing a new cross-departmental strategy for tackling homelessness, stronger prevention and early intervention, increased support for homeless people with complex needs, a time limit on temporary accommodation and a commitment to use devolved social security powers to prevent homelessness.

While Scotland is considered to be a world leader in tackling homelessness, there is more to be done.

Official statistics show the number of people making statutory homelessness applications is falling, but the number of people coming to councils because they are homeless or threatened with homelessness have remained static, according to Crisis.

The total number of statutory homelessness applications dropped 37 per cent in the five years between 2009/10 and 2014/15.

This is thought to be largely due to the adoption of the ‘housing options’ approach, which focuses on early intervention and provides a range of personalised advice to suit an individual’s circumstances.

However, taking ‘homelessness-type’ approaches to housing options services into account as well, the overall level of homelessness has stayed steady at around 54,000.

Saturday’s manifesto launch was chaired by Sandra White MSP and attended by Crisis Scotland director Ann Landels, Suzanne Fitzpatrick, Professor of Housing and Social Policy at Heriot Watt University, MP Corri Wilson and John, a former homelessness service user.

John told delegates that joined-up services that communicate with each other and are based in the same building, respect and empathy for him as a person and support to manage once he was given accommodation would have helped him.

“I’d ask services to have a bit more understanding and empathy,” he said. “All I wanted when I was in hostels was someone to listen to me.”

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