Fig­ures‘un­ac­cept­ably high’

Rutherglen Reformer - - News - Jonathan Ged­des

Hun­dreds of Ruther­glen and Cam­bus­lang lo­cals are cur­rently with­out a home.

Lead­ing home­less­ness char­ity Shel­ter has warned that the fig­ures re­main unacceptable, although they are de­clin­ing year on year.

Four- hun­dred- twenty- six peo­ple in Ruther­glen and Cam­bus­lang made home­less­ness ap­pli­ca­tions by Novem­ber 2016, down from 477 in the 2014/15 pe­riod and from 534 be­fore that.

Graeme Brown, di­rec­tor of Shel­ter Scot­land, said: “Right across Scot­land there is a se­vere short­age of af­ford­able hous­ing.

“In the so­cial sec­tor de­mand far out­strips sup­ply and in the pri­vate sec­tor rents are of­ten far above what is truly af­ford­able for peo­ple on low or even av­er­age in­comes whether they are in work or not.

“While we have seen the num­bers of peo­ple who are ac­cepted as home­less and in need of help com­ing down, these fig­ures are still un­ac­cept­ably high and we are con­cerned that more ac­tion is needed if we are not to see progress stall or the prob­lem worsen.”

The fig­ures come as Shel­ter Scot­land launch a new cam­paign calling for a new na­tion­wide strat­egy to com­bat home­less­ness through­out the coun­try.

Mr Brown added: “Home­less­ness: Far From Fixed calls for a new na­tional home­less­ness strat­egy. This must in­clude sig­nif­i­cant new house build­ing and im­prove­ments to the op­er­a­tion of ser­vices for peo­ple who are at risk of los­ing their home or al­ready be­come home­less.

“We’d wel­come peo­ple join­ing our cam­paign and de­mand­ing that Scot­land takes the ac­tion nec­es­sary to meet our am­bi­tions to have a home for every­one.”

Clare Haughey MSP be­lieves that the fact the fig­ures are on a down­ward trend of­fers room for en­cour­age­ment.

She said: “It is good to see home­less ap­pli­ca­tions and the num­ber as­sessed as home­less across Scot­land both re­duced dur­ing 2015/ 16. The fact that statu­tory home­less­ness has been in a marked down­ward path for the past five years is to be wel­comed and the gov­ern­ment is com­mit­ted to do­ing all that it can to sup­port those who find them­selves in dif­fi­culty.

“There are many rea­sons for home­less­ness. Changes to the ben­e­fits sys­tem brought in by the UK Gov­ern­ment have had an im­pact. The Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment has chan­nelled ad­di­tional funds to lo­cal au­thor­i­ties to mit­i­gate the im­pact of the bed­room tax im­posed by the Tories.

“We are also work­ing hard to in­crease the avail­abil­ity of af­ford­able so­cial hous­ing. We have stopped the sale of coun­cil hous­ing stock and we are de­ter­mined to in­crease and ac­cel­er­ate hous­ing sup­ply by sup­port­ing the in­dus­try and lo­cal au­thor­i­ties to de­liver their hous­ing pri­or­i­ties with qual­ity homes in mixed com­mu­ni­ties that fit lo­cal needs.”

A se­vere short­age of af­ford­able hous­ing

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