Scottish Churches Housing Action calls for action to ‘eradicate, not manage’ homelessness
The convener of Scottish Churches Housing Action has written to Housing Minister Kevin Stewart to call for the Scottish Government to “seek to eradicate, rather than just to manage, Scotland’s major problems of homelessness”.
In his letter, Rev Graeme Wilson refers to the contribution to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland of the retiring Moderator, Rt Rev Dr Russell Barr, who made homelessness the focus of his year as Moderator.
In his address on 20 May, Dr Barr said that the causes of homelessness have been identified, and policies put in place, but that the political will to resolve it was lacking.
Mr Wilson’s letter recognises the value of the Scottish Government’s approach to housebuilding, which has set a target of 50,000 new affordable homes for the current Parliament, but adds “…providing much-needed affordable homes will be wasted effort if it is not matched by measures to ensure that people can sustain their tenancies”.
“The housing options approach has made a significant difference, but when the options are as limited as they are for many of our more vulnerable citizens, it does not provide a complete response,” the letter adds.
The letter goes on to point out how the policies and practice of a range of areas under the control of the Scottish Government can lead to homelessness.
Mr Wilson said: “We have to be quite clear that responding to homelessness is not just a housing matter: housing is essential, but not enough. We need to be sure that Ministers and Cabinet Secretaries with responsibility for education, health, community justice, young people in care, and job creation are all aware of what they should be doing to ensure that there is no room for homelessness in Scotland.”
Scottish Churches Housing Action will be inviting the leaders of all parties represented in the Parliament to endorse this call to action.