Housing and Social Justice
Everyone needs a safe place they can call home – Kevin Stewart, Housing Minister
Having a home is more than just about bricks and mortar, it’s about having roots and a sense of belonging. It is unacceptable that anyone in a country like Scotland should find themselves homeless and I believe everyone needs a safe place they can call home.
Everybody found to be homeless in Scotland is entitled to settled housing and there has been a 39% fall in homelessness applications over the last decade. Yet still too many people struggle to access the accommodation and the services they need.
That’s why the First Minister established the Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Action Group last autumn. In just 9 months they have produced 4 reports, covering 70 recommendations and I thank them for their dedicated work.
We have accepted all the recommendations that we have control of. And in those areas where there are actions for others, we will urge them to act and match our commitments.
Last week I announced £21 million – from the £50 million Ending Homelessness Together Fund – to accelerate rapid rehousing and Housing First. This will mean that people living in temporary accommodation or at risk of homelessness are helped quickly into permanent homes.
Up to £4 million will be available to support Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen, Stirling and Dundee, which are participating in the joint Social Bite and Corra Housing First initiative.
I am aware that we take this action in the face of continued welfare cuts from the UK Government. With an annual £4 billion in benefits being cut from Scotland by the end of the decade, more people are being pushed into debt, rent arrears and crisis. We know these cuts are making life harder for so many people, so we are spending £125 million this year to protect those on low incomes.
Scotland already has some of the strongest housing rights for homeless people in the world. With solid leadership and the Action Group’s recommendations, we have a very positive vision for the future. The next step is to take forward the wider recommendations in partnership with local authorities and others as part of this government’s determination and commitment to ending homelessness for good.
The Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Action Group was established by the Scottish Government in September 2017. It announced its final recommendations on ending homelessness in Scotland on 27 June 2018, Transforming Temporary Accommodation in Scotland in May 2018 and Ending Rough Sleeping in Scotland in March 2018.