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Why This Matters

What's the problem?

We have all likely either seen the impact of or been directly affected by Scotland’s housing crisis. Across many of our cities and towns it is clear that levels of rough sleeping on the streets are on the rise – and we know that while it is the most visible form, rough sleeping is just the tip of the iceberg of homelessness in Scotland.

The truth is that budget cuts to local and national government, ongoing changes and reductions in social security payments for some of the most vulnerable in our society, combined with a stuttering supply of social housing across the country, means that homelessness is as much of a problem in Scotland today as it ever has been.

Homelessness can happen to anyone in Scotland and all too often it is chance, not choice, that leads to someone losing their home. Becoming homeless is a personal tragedy for everyone it affects. It has major implications on an individual’s life expectancy, health, employability, education and wider wellbeing - to say nothing of the moral failing it represents for Scotland as a progressive nation. We are one of the richest nations in the world, so why is it that we still cannot fulfil the most basic of needs and provide a home for everyone?

It is shocking and shameful that homelessness still exists in Scotland today.

What do the numbers tell us?

It is estimated that more than 5,000 people sleep rough on our streets over the year in Scotland. In addition, nearly 30,000 people across the country were assessed as homeless last year by their local authority. This means that every 20 minutes a household in Scotland becomes homeless. Today, there are more than 10,000 households living in temporary accommodation and, shamefully for us all, tomorrow morning more than 5,000 children in Scotland will wake up without a home of their own. Beyond these evidenced numbers, there is an unknown number of people sofa surfing, staying with friends or living in unsuitable or unsafe housing. These are all types of homelessness in Scotland today.

What can we do to fix it?

After the re-establishment of the Scottish Parliament in 1999, good initial vision and progress was made on tackling homelessness in Scotland and we now have some of the strongest rights for homeless people in the world. But truly ending homelessness is a complex issue that needs a sustained commitment and leadership at a national level. In recent years, progress seems to have slowed and we are concerned that local and national government have taken their eye off the ball on this vital issue. There is no time for Scotland to rest on its laurels, our new Homelessness: Far From Fixed campaign is calling for:

  • A safe and affordable home for everyone
  • Ensuring help is available for everyone to keep or find a home
  • A strong housing safety net exists to catch people if they do lose their home
  • And, that no-one should ever have to sleep rough on Scotland’s streets

We want to build a broad base of support for these demands and are encouraging the public and politicians to add their voices in support of these asks and sign up to our campaign to help fix homelessness in Scotland.

Essential to realising and delivering on these ambitions is the development of a new National Homelessness Strategy for Scotland that works across government departments to tackle and prevent homelessness. You can find out more about this and the specific policy elements of our campaign in the Homelessness Far From Fixed policy download.

What we hope to achieve

Over the lifetime of our Homelessness: Far From Fixed campaign, we aim to:

  • Help improve outcomes for homeless people locally across Scotland – ensuring more people get a safe and affordable place to call home
  • Put homelessness firmly on the agenda for the new Scottish government and local authorities across Scotland
  • Educate and raise public awareness about homelessness in Scotland today

Please support our campaign to fix homelessness in Scotland. Because everyone deserves a safe and affordable place to call home.

Shelter Scotland's Local Government Manifesto for Homes 2017

Shelter Scotland has launched a Local Government Manifesto for Homes 2017, as our local councils, and the many services they provide, play a vital role in ensuring that people in our communities are supported to find and keep a safe and secure home.

Shelter Scotland is calling on all candidates in the forthcoming local government elections in Scotland to prioritise taking urgent and real action on housing and homelessness over the next 5 years, and beyond. The ambitions outlined in this Local Government Manifesto for Homes build on the recommendations from the landmark report from the Commission on Housing and Wellbeing in 2015 and the recommendations from our current Homelessness: Far From Fixed campaign.

We are asking all candidates from all political parties to support this manifesto for homes and sign up to our Homelessness: Far From Fixed campaign. Housing and homelessness must be at the top of the agenda in all local authorities.


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