Housing and homeless organisations call on Scottish Government to extend ban on evictions
A coalition of housing, homelessness and welfare organisations is calling for the Scottish Government to extend emergency coronavirus powers to stop evictions.
In an open letter to housing minister Kevin Stewart the group congratulates the Scottish Government for its rapid action on housing and homelessness in the early days of the coronavirus crisis but warns that “time is running out”, since the current protections against eviction are due to be lifted in September.
The coalition is calling on the Scottish Government to extend the protections and ensure that vulnerable households cannot be evicted until at least April 2021.
The letter has been signed by Shelter Scotland, Simon Community Scotland, Legal Services Agency, Rowan Alba, Move On, Glasgow Night Shelter, Scottish Churches Housing Association, Cyrenians and the Scottish Refugee Council,
They also want those with no recourse to public funds to be protected from destitution by commissioning a legal opinion on whether forced destitution is compatible with Scottish equalities and human rights duties.
The letter warns that people facing destitution in communities across Scotland have urgent needs and “cannot wait for UK ministers, who have demonstrated no desire to take a humane approach that respects everyone’s rights.”
Shelter Scotland director Alison Watson said: “As we emerge from this crisis, no one wants to see families losing their homes or vulnerable people being forced back on to the streets.
“We know the pandemic has had a terrible impact on household finances.
“Thousands have lost their jobs, rent arrears are increasing and we’ve seen big increases in homelessness applications and the use of temporary accommodation.
“We must act now to stop the situation from getting worse.
“Scottish ministers have shown real leadership in getting people off the streets and keeping families in their homes.
“Now we’re asking them to step up once again by protecting people from being evicted and preventing a wave of homelessness this autumn.”
Cyrenians CEO Ewan Aitken said: “How we respond to this pandemic in the coming weeks and months will profoundly shape our future direction as a society.
“We have seen what can be possible when we act decisively and collectively, with compassion and a common purpose.
“Let’s not lose that. Now is the time to live up to our shared values of justice and compassion and choose never to return to a system that evicted people into homelessness.”