Fife becomes first local authority to back Shelter Scotland’s Far From Fixed homeless campaign

Councillor Judy Hamilton signs-up to Far From Fixed with Fiona King, campaigns manager at Shelter Scotland

Councillor Judy Hamilton signs-up to Far From Fixed with Fiona King, campaigns manager at Shelter Scotland

Fife Council has become the first local authority in Scotland to sign-up to a major national campaign aimed at tackling homelessness.

Shelter Scotland’s Homelessness: Far From Fixed campaign calls for significant changes to end the human tragedy of homelessness by ensuring public bodies are all working together to tackle the causes and consequences of people losing their homes.

Judy Hamilton, convener of Fife Council’s community and housing services committee, said: “Everyone deserves a warm and safe place to call home and it’s vital that we continue to push forward in our bid to eliminate homelessness.

“Here in Fife we are committed to providing affordable housing with 2,700 homes already completed and a commitment to a further 3,500 to be built over the next five years.

“While this will make a big difference, we know it will not solve the problem of homelessness in our communities. Partners and governments need to work together, provide proper resources and get this issue fixed once and for all.”

Fife Council is working closely with Shelter Scotland as part of the national Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Action Group to end homelessness. Fife Council and the Fife Housing Partnership is renewing its focus on the effective prevention and reduction of homelessness over the short-medium term as well as signing up to the ambition to end homelessness in Scotland.

The charity says nationally the equivalent of one household became homeless every 19 minutes last year and growing numbers of children are living in temporary housing.

In 2016-2017, Fife Council alone saw 1,942 households assessed as homeless and 515 households were in temporary accommodation including 353 children.

Since the campaign’s launch homelessness has secured more political attention. In the Programme for Government in September, Nicola Sturgeon announced a £50 million ‘Ending Homelessness Together’ fund along with the creation of an action group on homelessness.

Graeme Brown, director of Shelter Scotland, said: “This move by Fife Council to become the first local authority in Scotland to sign our campaign is warmly welcomed and demonstrates Fife Council’s commitment to tackling this national problem.

“Councils have statutory duties to prevent homelessness and to accommodate those who lose their homes but they do need leadership from government and the support of other public bodies like the NHS and the prison service to close the gaps in our safety net.

“There is still a long way to go, but with the backing of the public, politicians, organisations and now Councils we believe we can really tackle both the causes and consequences of homelessness across Scotland.”

Meanwhile Shelter Scotland’s Homelessness: Far From Fixed campaign reaches Lochgelly in Fife today. Campaigners will be asking members of the public to sign-up to support demands for action on homelessness. They’ll be demonstrating how easy it is for people to lose their home using a giant snakes and ladders board where life events like ‘relationship breakdown’ or ‘falling ill’ are the snakes.

The Far From Fixed campaign’s four main demands are:

  • A safe and affordable home for everyone
  • Help to be available for everyone 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