Charities outline plan to end homelessness within two parliaments

Charities outline plan to end homelessness within two parliaments

Thirty organisations in Scotland that care about homelessness, including charities, leading academics and people with lived experience, are today calling on political parties, MSPs and candidates in next year’s Scottish Parliament elections to get behind a ten-year plan to end homelessness.

As political parties finalise manifesto pledges and prospective candidates declare, this third Route Map to be published since the start of the pandemic by the Everyone Home Collective asks the Scottish Parliament to get behind five key asks in a ten-year commitment straddling two parliamentary terms.

The five key asks are:

  • Prioritise prevention - Stop homelessness before it happens and the damage it causes
  • More homes - More social homes for good health, in the areas we need them
  • End rough sleeping - The sharpest end of homelessness and a public health emergency
  • Systems change - Modernise, improve and invest in a system that better responds to homelessness
  • No evictions into homelessness - Leave no-one in Scotland without a place to stay

Maggie Brünjes, chief executive at Homeless Network Scotland, said: “Homelessness is not inevitable, or an unsolvable problem. The causes are predictable and we know who is most at risk –we can end homelessness in Scotland over two parliaments.

“Scotland already has a robust policy environment in place that we want to see strengthened and ramped up over the next decade to get everyone home.“Sustaining the cross-party accord on tackling homelessness that underpins the current approach in Scotland, and continuing this into the next Parliament and beyond, would provide consistency and stability. It would enable everyone to build on progress so far and complete the infrastructure that will consign homelessness to history.”

Alison Watson, Shelter Scotland director, said: “Reducing affordable housing need must be a central ambition of the next Scottish Parliament. Delivering the social and affordable homes we need is the only way to tackle the root causes of rising homelessness, and it will help Scotland meet its climate targets and reduce poverty and inequality. Our next intake of MSPs have the power to achieve this, and it’s the single most important step they can take toward a safer, healthier, fairer future.”

Lorraine McGrath, CEO of Simon Community Scotland, added: “We have seen just how possible it is to reach, engage and resolve people’s experience of homelessness, even those facing the most extreme challenges, when the right combination of resources, partnership and the absolute will to make things happen combine. What was achieved for people experiencing rough sleeping in the early days of lockdown was remarkable, but not entirely unexpected, we have always known it was possible with the right conditions in place. That experience underpins this route map, making it a simple choice for our politicians.”

Janet Haugh, CEO of Ypeople, said: “Last year Ypeople helped end homelessness for more than 3,000 people through accommodation services and community support. Since March, there has been a huge amount of work and unprecedented steps taken by local authorities and other organisations to make sure people can isolate safety during COVID-19. However, as we come through this pandemic, we risk a huge spike of people of all ages facing homelessness across Scotland.

“By working together, we can all play a role in rebuilding our local communities and end homelessness in Scotland for good.”

The 30 organisations in Everyone Home have written to all of Scotland’s political parties urging them to back the proposals contained in the latest Route Map and plan to meet their representatives in the coming weeks and months leading up to the election in May.

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