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 made key recommendations for last winter, which were adopted by the SNP government and backed with total investment of £328,000 including £262,000 from the Scottish Government.
Following this, the group made its recommendations on ending rough sleeping for good, including moving to a ‘Housing First’ approach.
The group has also now made recommendations on transforming temporary accommodation, which have been accepted by the Scottish Government. Some of the recommendations will require devolution of funding from the UK government so the Scottish Government will work with local authorities to explore these further. You can find more information here.
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.
The Scottish Government will also increase investment in Social Bite’s Housing First scheme to £6.5 million – allowing them to increase the number of people lifted out of homelessness for good from 200 to 800.
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.