What actions are the SNP taking to tackle homelessness?
Scotland’s homelessness legislation is already amongst the most progressive in the world and in December 2012 we achieved its central goal of ensuring all of those assessed as unintentionally homeless by local authorities will be entitled to settled accommodation as a legal right.
We have now set a new national objective of eradicating rough sleeping. A short term Action Group has been established - chaired by Jon Sparkes, Chief Executive of the homelessness charity Crisis - to look at how this can be achieved and also how we can transform temporary accommodation.
The group has made key recommendations for this winter, which have been adopted by the Scottish Government and backed with total investment of £328,000 including £262,000 from the Scottish Government. Recommendations include increasing emergency accommodation and flexible provision in areas with the greatest numbers of rough sleepers; boosting multi-agency partnership working; and making budgets available to front line workers to meet immediate housing needs.
The Action Group will also complete further work on how we can transform temporary accommodation, eradicate rough sleeping and end homelessness for good.
The new objective will be backed up with a new £50 million ‘Ending Homelessness Together’ fund, for homelessness prevention initiatives. We’ll also invest £20 million more in alcohol and drug services.
We have reduced the time that households with pregnant women or children can spend in unsuitable accommodation from 14 to 7 days.
We will also develop guidance on standards in temporary accommodation for homeless households and by the end of this parliament ensure that all temporary accommodation is the same standard as permanent accommodation.
In our decade in power we have now delivered 70,000 affordable homes. We are committed to delivering 50,000 more affordable homes in this Scottish Parliament term.
We continue to fully mitigate the Bedroom Tax and will abolish it as soon as possible. We have also provided additional funding through the Scottish Welfare Fund to support 18 to 21 year olds following the Tory government decision to remove their Housing Benefit.