Scotland ‘lacks political leadership’ on tackling homelessness
Homelessness: Picture credit - PA
Twelve leading homelessness, housing and anti-poverty groups have attacked the current “lack of political leadership” and urgency in relation to tackling homelessness in Scotland.
In an open letter to Cabinet Secretary for Communities, Social Security and Equalities Angela Constance and Housing Minister Kevin Stewart, they called on the Scottish Government to create a national homelessness strategy to tackle this “complex” problem.
Shelter Scotland, Positive Action in Housing, the Church of Scotland, Who Cares? Scotland, the Cyrenians, Simon Community, Legal Services Agency, SCVO, SFHA, Streetwork, The Poverty Alliance and NUS Scotland all signed the letter.
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It read: “The human tragedy of homelessness was recently brought into sharp focus by the sad and widely reported death of a young man who had been sleeping rough on the streets of Glasgow in recent days.
“This was not the first such story and it will not be the last. It is a badge of shame that homelessness still exists in our society.
“We the undersigned are profoundly concerned by the current lack of political leadership and urgency in relation to tackling homelessness in Scotland today.
“We are calling for a new national homelessness strategy to tackle this complex problem head on.
“Without decisive action, we are endangering the lives of a growing number of people forced to sleep rough on the streets of our towns and cities and condemning many more individuals and families to a life in limbo, by forcing them to stay for increasing lengths of time in so called temporary accommodation.”
The letter went on to say there is now a “real danger” of “squandering” the legacy of Scotland’s world-leading 2012 commitment on homelessness, which gave everyone the right to a settled home.
It continued: “We believe that a new national focus on homelessness is a necessity for achieving the Scottish Government's ambitions of a fairer Scotland.
“Key public policy priorities such as closing the education attainment gap, improving health outcomes, eradicating child poverty and reducing re-offending are being undermined by the failure to grasp the significance of preventing and tackling homelessness.”