With one year to go until Scotland’s historic homelessness legislation comes into force, the country’s leading housing and homelessness charity says local authorities must build on their achievements to date.
Shelter Scotland says that the 2012 commitment’ to give every unintentionally homeless person the right to a home must not be seen as an end point, but a beginning. The charity says that local authorities should strive to deliver the ‘2012 commitment’ and the best possible service to homeless people in their communities.
To help local authorities prepare their homelessness services for a post-2012 era, Shelter Scotland is hosting a major conference to address the challenges and solutions of the 2012 commitment and beyond.
Bringing together a host of national and international housing experts, including White House policy advisor on homelessness Professor Dennis Culhane, Housing Minister Keith Brown and Michael Cameron, Chief Executive, Scottish Housing Regulator, the ‘Homelessness post-2012: Where next?’ conference will take place on 7 February 2012 in Edinburgh.
Gordon MacRae, Head of Communications and Policy at Shelter Scotland, said:
“The 2012 commitment has been the historic milestone for homelessness policy in Scotland for the last ten years and this major event is designed to help Scotland accelerate over the finishing line.
“With exactly one year to go we are encouraged that many local authorities have shown dedication to meeting the 2012 homelessness commitment and that some are in fact already there. There are other local authorities across Scotland with more work to do, but it is by no means too late. We hope this conference will help all local authorities to address the challenges they face and identify solutions going forward.
“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. It marks a new beginning for Scotland’s homelessness services where we hope all local authorities will strive to deliver the best possible service to homeless people in their communities.”
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 and this conference will be an opportunity look beyond 2012 and address new challenges, set new priorities and share best practice.
Notes to Editors:
1. 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.
2. Spokespeople are available for interview – call the media office on 0844 515 2442. An ISDN line is available for broadcast interviews.
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