Charities join forces to tell Holyrood committee that homelessness is ‘Far From Fixed’
Homeless Action Scotland (HAS) has today announced its support for Shelter Scotland’s Homelessness: Far From Fixed campaign ahead of the two organisations giving evidence to a Scottish Parliament committee on homelessness.
HAS is the latest high-profile group to sign up to the campaign after the Association of Local Authority Chief Housing Officers (ALACHO) signed last week.
When its campaign launched 12 months ago, Shelter Scotland called Scotland’s current level of homelessness a national badge of shame for one of the world’s richest nations. It accused local and national government of taking their eye off the ball on tackling and preventing homelessness in Scotland.
Since then, significant progress has been made. In the refreshed Programme for Government announced by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon earlier this month, a £50 million ‘Ending Homelessness Together’ fund was included along with the creation of an action group on homelessness. Homelessness had not featured in the previous Programme for Government.
The Far From Fixed campaign’s four main demands are:
Homeless Action Scotland CEO Gavin Yates said: “As Scotland’s only national membership organisation for those committed to end homelessness we welcome the Scottish Government’s recent focus on rough sleeping and homelessness. We will play our part in ensuring that the voice of our members in the voluntary sector, local authorities and housing associations are heard loudly.
“We are happy to be associated with Shelter Scotland’s campaign and as a key member of ours we will do everything we can to support them in their aim of ending homelessness.
“We would also highlight the need to phase out the use of night shelters as simply moving people from rough sleeping to shelters is not an adequate response for a modern, proud nation like ours.”
Graeme Brown, director Shelter Scotland, added: “We began our campaign 12 months ago to show that homelessness can still happen to anyone, that people become homeless through chance not choice and to call for renewed focus on homelessness across Scotland.
“Gaining the support of Homeless Action Scotland is very important in order to push home the message that homelessness in Scotland is Far From Fixed.
“Our campaign has clearly caught the attention of the Scottish Government and we thank everyone who has signed up to our campaign to get us this far, including 27 housing, homelessness and third sector organisations in Scotland. We are making real progress.”
Organisations to have signed up to Homelessness: Far From Fixed include: Church of Scotland, Scottish Churches Housing Action, Cyrenians, CIH Scotland, ALACHO, CPAG, The Marie Trust, Streetwork, LSA, Simon Community, Poverty Alliance, SFHA, LinkLiving, Scottish Women’s Aid, NUS Scotland, EUSA, Queen Margaret Union, SCVO, Barnardo’s Scotland, Citizens Advice Scotland, LGBT Youth Scotland, Positive Action in Housing, Scottish Refugee Council, Who Cares Scotland, Children First, Rock Trust, Homeless Action Scotland.
Shelter Scotland’s written submission to the local government and communities committee is available here.