Scotland has made huge progress in tackling homelessness and has some of the strongest rights for homeless people in the world. Our focus on prevention so far has contributed to a 39 per cent reduction in homelessness applications since 2008. However, we know there is more to do and we are not prepared to see the progress made undone.
In government, we are taking actions to eradicate rough sleeping and homelessness for good. Here’s what you need to know:
- We have published an action plan that sets out a five year programme to end homelessness and transform temporary accommodation. The plan will ensure public services take a personalised, tailored response to resolving housing needs, and involve a shift towards rapid rehousing will see homeless people housed in long-term and settled accommodation solutions that meets their needs as quickly as possible. It will also ensure a quick and effective response by frontline workers, by developing a national model of frontline outreach with enhanced training and support.
- We are investing £50 million in the Ending Homelessness Together fund to support the delivery of the action plan.
- Our strong homelessness rights mean everybody found to be homeless is legally entitled to housing while they await permanent accommodation.
- We have legislated to reduce the time that families and pregnant women can spend in unsuitable temporary accommodation from 14 to 7 days, and we will now go further to extend the one week cap to all homeless households and consult early next year on implementation.
- We are moving to a Housing First approach, providing ordinary, settled housing as a first response for people with multiple needs together with the special support they require. We have provided up to £6.5 million for the five Housing First pathfinder cities in Aberdeenshire, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Stirling.
- We are committed to delivering 50,000 more affordable homes in this Scottish Parliament term, backed with investment of £3 billion – the single biggest investment in affordable housing since devolution. In our twelve years in power we have now delivered more than 86,000 affordable homes, including over 59,000 homes for social rent.
- We will continue to invest over £125 million to mitigate the worst impact of Tory Government welfare cuts and support those on low incomes. We continue to fully mitigate the Bedroom Tax and will abolish it as soon as possible.
- The introduction of Universal Credit has greatly increased rent arrears, putting more and more people at risk of homelessness. We have used our limited new powers to allow more frequent payments of Universal Credit and for the housing element to be paid direct to landlords.
- We have published a new strategy to prevent and reduce drugs and alcohol use, supported by additional funding of £20 million a year.
- We have established a new social security agency, based on dignity, fairness and respect, which will help to support those who need it, when they need it.