Shelter Scotland today welcomed the lowest number of homelessness applications since 2003/04 but warned that too many local authorities are still not well enough prepared to deliver Scotland’s historic reforms to give every homeless person the right to a home from 2012.
The call comes as the Scottish Government’s latest homelessness statistics (1) reveal today that:
- 6 local authorities are well prepared for the reforms
- 10 local authorities are improving and on track
- 8 local authorities have made some progress but have more to do to prepare
- 5 local authorities have shown some commitment but have failed to sustain early progress
- 3 local authorities need to take urgent action to prepare
The reform to Scotland’s homelessness legislation will see an end to current system where only those people deemed to be in ‘priority need’ have the right to a home. The Act passed in 2003 effectively extends the right to a home to single homeless people and couples without children. For the last eight years Scotland’s 32 local authorities have been preparing for the changes but with just over a year to go, the charity is warning that urgent action is needed before it is too late.
Graeme Brown, Director of Shelter Scotland, the housing and homelessness charity said:
“We congratulate those councils who have shown dedication to meeting the 2012 homelessness commitment. There are other local authorities across Scotland however, that are not achieving the same progress.
“We know times are tough and local authorities are under increasing pressure, but meeting the 2012 commitment is not a choice, it’s a legislative requirement that cannot be shirked from.
“With just over a year to go until 31 December 2012, those councils who are failing to deliver need to take urgent action to meet their responsibilities to homeless people or Scottish Ministers should intervene to make it happen.
“We want everyone in Scotland to have the right to a home and the real chance of actually living in one. The challenge remains to ensure there are enough decent affordable houses in Scotland for people to live in. That’s why politicians must prioritise building more houses to end the wait for the 123,000 households across Scotland stuck on housing waiting lists.”
Notes to Editors:
- Scotland’s Chief Statistician today released statistics on the operation of the homeless persons legislation in Scotland. The publication provides detailed information about applications to local authorities for assistance under homelessness legislation covering the period 1 April 2010 to 31 March 2011 http://www.scotland.gov.uk/stats/bulletins/00924
- Shelter Scotland provides expert support services, online advice and a free national helpline for everyone facing housing and homelessness difficulties. For advice and support visit http://scotland.shelter.org.uk or call 0808 800 4444.
- Spokespeople are available for interview – call the media office on 0844 515 2442.
- Follow Shelter Scotland on Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/shelterinscotland Twitter – http://twitter.com/shelterscotland
- Shelter Scotland believes everyone should have a home. We help people find and keep a home. We campaign for decent housing for all.
Contact: Sabina Kadic-Mackenzie
Phone: 0844 515 2442