Shelter Scotland takes homelessness campaign to Holyrood
Shelter Scotland has accused the Scottish Government and local councils of taking their eyes off the ball when it comes to homelessness after new data revealed a rise in people needing assistance.
The housing and homelessness charity visited the Scottish Parliament yesterday to highlight the plight of homeless children at Christmas and to urge MSPs to sign up to its hard-hitting campaign aimed at finally fixing the human tragedy of homelessness in Scotland.
Homelessness: Far From Fixed, which already has strong backing from the public and local politicians across Scotland, hit Holyrood on the same day the charity released details of a rise in the number of people contacting it for help in the last year, saying that it helped more people last year than in any previous year.
In the last 12 months, 20,882 calls were made to its free national helpline (an increase of 6 per cent on the previous year), 2,794 online digital chat advice sessions were provided and unique visits to its online Get Advice pages increased to 726,000.
The charity says more than 5,200 children will wake up homeless this Christmas in Scotland and around 30,000 households were made homeless last year, with 10,500 forced to live in temporary accommodation.
The homelessness campaign urges members of the public and politicians to sign up to its demands of local and national government.
The campaign’s four main demands are:
Adam Lang, head of policy and communications at Shelter Scotland, said: “It’s shameful that each year there are thousands of people sleeping rough on our streets, that there are thousands more hidden homeless people sofa surfing with friends and that on Christmas morning this year more than 5,000 children in Scotland will wake up homeless in temporary accommodation.
“We are outside the Scottish Parliament to highlight the plight of homeless children at Christmas and urge MSPs to sign up to our campaign aimed at finally fixing the human tragedy of homelessness. Frankly, we think it’s a disgrace that homelessness still exists in Scotland today. We are one of the richest nations in the world, yet nearly 30,000 households became homeless last year.”
He added: “We know that times are tough for more and more people because we see it every day - with more calls to our free national helpline, dozens of people using our digital chat service and thousands of visits to our online advice pages.
“It’s clear from these increasing numbers of people needing help that we are still failing far too many people in our society, particularly the most vulnerable, with the most basic of human rights - the right to shelter and a home.
“It is now time for local and national government to take bold action to tackle the tragedy of homelessness head-on.
“Homelessness can happen to anyone. People become homeless through chance not choice. Our ‘Far From Fixed’ campaign aims to highlight that we still have a long way to go to end homelessness in Scotland.”
In support of its Far From Fixed campaign launch, Shelter Scotland has produced a detailed policy paper outlining its vision of the next steps and priority actions for homelessness policy in Scotland and the need for a new National Homelessness Strategy.
People can support Shelter Scotland’s Christmas campaign by visiting shelterscotland.org or text SHELTER to 70123* and donate £3 to support our work to prevent homelessness.