Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Fewer People in Scotland are Becoming Homeless

POLICY DECISIONS BEST MADE IN SCOTLAND

A housing charity has said Scottish Government measures to protect vulnerable people are “an example to Westminster” - while new statistics show fewer people in Scotland are becoming homeless.

Crisis has today urged Westminster to follow Scotland's lead, while the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations has warned the UK's welfare cutting policies may undermine the good work being done in Scotland.

In the last twelve months, there were 39,827 homelessness applications, 5,720 (13%) lower than the number of applications received in 2011-12

Leslie Morphy, chief executive of Crisis, said:

“This is an historic day in Scotland. Despite the challenges of the economic downturn, every person who has become homeless through no fault of their own has now been helped and found accommodation. This should be seen as an example to follow in Westminster.

"We urge ministers to protect people in England in the same way and remove the pernicious legal distinction between those with children and single people which too many councils south of the border hide behind."

Andy Young, SFHA Policy and Membership Manager said:

"While any reduction in homelessness is to be applauded, we do share the Scottish Government’s concern that the medium and long term effects of the Westminster Coalition Government’s welfare reforms may undermine some of the excellent homelessness prevention and tenancy sustainment work being carried out by social landlords and others here in Scotland.”

Commenting, SNP MSP Maureen Watt said:

"These are encouraging figures that underline the hard work of the SNP Government in partnership with councils and their partners to prevent homelessness and improve outcomes for households that do become homeless.

"These statistics come after a historic year that culminated in Scotland's local authorities meeting the homelessness 2012 target. That means that all unintentionally homeless people are now entitled to settled accommodation.

"Crisis is urging Westminster to follow in Scotland's need but we are concerned any improvements we are making now will be hampered by the UK's destructive measures - including the bedroom tax - later.

"At the same time the SFHA says it shares our concerns that Westminster policies may "undermine...the excellent homelessness prevention" work in Scotland.

"While the Tories dream up new ways of attacking the most vulnerable in society, the Scottish Government is doing all it can to help those most in need. Clearly policy decisions affecting the people of Scotland are best taken in Scotland.

“The Scottish Government aims to deliver 30,000 affordable homes - including 20,000 for social rent - over the life of this Parliament. Over the next three years we will be making over £900 million available for affordable housing.

"We are determined to build a better and fairer Scotland and the only way we can fully achieve this is with a Yes vote so our efforts to create the kind of society we want to live in is not derailed by destructive Westminster policies."
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