Shelter Scotland launch #FarFromFixed campaign to demand fresh action on homelessness

Nathanael Williams

The homelessness and housing charity launch online campaign to get the public and politicians to sign up demands to tackle homeless crisis

SHELTER SCOTLAND has launched a new online campaign and petition today to get members of the public and politicians in Scotland to sign up to a range of solutions they say could fix Scotland's homelessness crisis.

The campaign, called Homelessness: Far From Fixed, will be officially launched today in George Square in Glasgow, with demands to end rough sleeping and online under the hashtag #FarFromFixed alongside the petition on the charity’s website,

Shelter Scotland want the Scottish government to commit to delivering a new national homelessness strategy which can achieve a safe and affordable home for all, help for everyone to keep or find a home, a housing safety net to catch those who lose their home, and action to ensure that no one sleeps rough.

"Scotland needs also to recognise the changing shape of welfare, the shifts in population and the evolving institutional landscape." Graeme Brown

Shelter Scotland director Graeme Brown, said: "It is frankly a disgrace that homelessness still exists in Scotland today.

"The time for ­rhetoric and resting on our laurels is over. We are demanding that national and local ­government do more to tackle homelessness."

On BBC's Good Morning Scotland he also said that current levels of homelessness amounted to a "national badge of shame".

The charity has blamed budget cuts to local and national government as well as welfare reforms which have affected the most vulnerable in the country for Scotland’s continuing homelessness problem.

Despite the Scottish government's commitments to build 35,000 houses for social rent by March 2021, the organisation stated this still saw a shortage of social housing in Scotland.

The charity itself estimates that more than 5,000 people sleep rough on the streets of Scotland and up to 30,000 people were assessed as homeless last year by local authorities. 

By Shelter’s estimation, every 20 minutes a household in Scotland becomes homeless which also means about 10,000 households end up living in temporary accommodation, of whom 5,000 are children.

Every 20 minutes, a household in Scotland becomes homeless.

Brown said: "Across the country services are uneven. 10,000 people are in temporary accommodation: the right to a home is not the same as getting a home. Meanwhile, 150,000 households on council house waiting lists show the wider strain on the system. 

"That is why it is time to re-forge a commitment to tackling homelessness, building on the gains of the last decade and a half but also recognising the areas where progress has been patchier.

"Scotland needs also to recognise the changing shape of welfare, the shifts in population and the evolving institutional landscape. So that re-commitment is not just one for housing campaigners and housing practitioners.

"A refreshed homelessness plan and programme would re-invigorate current expert and practitioner groups. It would set new horizons for homelessness services and deliver on other top-ranking national priorities: improving social justice, bridging the attainment gaps in schools and focusing public spending on prevention work.

"Most of all, it would allow that claim – that Scotland leads the world on homelessness – to be backed by evidence of real progress, real change."

10,000 people are in temporary accommodation, meanwhile, 150,000 households on council house waiting lists.

The then Labour and Liberal Democrat coalition government in Holyrood set a target in 1999 ensuring that by 2003 no one should sleep rough in Scotland which led to the Rough  Sleepers Initiative.

Despite some progress over the past 13 to 15 years, Shelter argued that strong anecdotal reports from winter night shelters in Glasgow and Edinburgh demonstrate an increase in rough sleeping since then.

The charity also expressed concern and hopes over the reclassification of housing associations which have already been reformed in England. 

In England such reclassification has often left housing associations free of the obligations to tenants and housing targets that they had in the past.

The reason being that Scottish government and other housing stakeholders have placed emphasis on housing association as key to their affordable housing strategy.

As a result Shelter Scotland urged the government to ensure that the interests of homeless families be taken into consideration to show fresh commitment.

The online campaign will launch today under the hashtag #FarFromFixed and the organisation has encouraged memebership of the public to contribute their views and demands. 

Picture courtesy of Shelter Scotland

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