Scotland ‘must grasp the nettle’ to end homelessness, conference to hear

Homeless Action ScotlandScotland’s national membership charity for homelessness is to convene a conference in Glasgow today by calling for a “concerted and on-going national commitment” to end homelessness.

The National Homeless Conference features over 150 delegates from across the homelessness spectrum including representatives from charities, local government and housing associations.

The event is also being addressed by the Scottish Government’s local government and housing minister Kevin Stewart who recently announced new funding over five years to tackle both rough sleeping and a reform of temporary accommodation.

Homeless Action Scotland chief executive, Gavin Yates, said: “Scotland is at a crossroads in terms of its willingness to tackle homelessness in all of its many forms. I think public opinion is firmly on the side of action and both civil society and politicians are starting to address the fundamental issues of poverty, disadvantage, housing supply and support.

“We welcome the Scottish Government’s commitment to tackling both rough sleeping and reform of temporary accommodation and we have been involved in discussions on both already.

“However, with both a UK budget and a Scottish budget to be announced before the end of year we need to see long term investment to make the changes we want to see to end homelessness.

“There needs to be a national consensus to drive the progress we all wish to see and to really achieve the result for the people we serve.”

Kevin Stewart MSP added: “Tackling and preventing homelessness is a key government priority which is why we recently established a Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Action Group, to work on the actions required to end rough sleeping and transform the use of temporary accommodation. And to drive that change and improvement we have established a £50 million Ending Homelessness Together Fund.

“We are determined to achieve a national objective to eradicate rough sleeping, and Homeless Action Scotland is an important partner in helping achieve that.

“Scotland has some of the strongest rights for homeless people in the world. We want to ensure people are accessing those, recognising that it requires more than just the provision of housing. That can only be achieved through joint working, and I am delighted to work with a range of partners, including Homeless Action Scotland, to effect change and tackling the underlying causes of homelessness, and prevent it before it occurs.”

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