Mak­ing a real dif­fer­ence to home­less­ness

The Herald on Sunday - - TALK BACK -

YOU need only walk the high streets of towns and cities across Scot­land to see that home­less­ness and rough sleep­ing are a grow­ing prob­lem.

The de­bate about the poli­cies that did or did not con­trib­ute to the cri­sis will con­tinue among politi­cians.

Char­i­ties are do­ing their ut­most with lim­ited re­sources. It’s time for the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment to step up.

A task­force hastily or­gan­ised by Hous­ing Min­is­ter Kevin Ste­wart made 70 rec­om­men­da­tions.

This task­force heard from hun­dreds of peo­ple who had ex­pe­ri­enced home­less­ness.

The Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment could not ig­nore their con­cerns about Scot­land’s ap­proach to home­less­ness and ac­cepted all 70 rec­om­men­da­tions in prin­ci­ple.

The Hous­ing Min­is­ter has now com­mit­ted to a hous­ing-led ap­proach and coun­cils are work­ing on rapid re­hous­ing tran­si­tion plans which will over­haul the way they re­spond to home­less­ness.

They will soon pri­ori­tise per­ma­nent, main­stream hous­ing and the sup­port peo­ple need, rather than fo­cus­ing on tem­po­rary ac­com­mo­da­tion (which is not al­ways avail­able, de­spite a statu­tory obli­ga­tion).

How­ever, as char­i­ties Cri­sis and the Si­mon Com­mu­nity point out in The Her­ald on Sun­day to­day, there must be firm com­mit­ments and timescales on sev­eral key is­sues.

It is hoped the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment’s plan to tackle home­less­ness – to be pub­lished this week – will pro­vide just that.

The abil­ity to end home­less­ness for good is in the gift of Scot­tish min­is­ters, if they are will­ing to grasp the net­tle.

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