In the 10 years since the 2012 homelessness commitment became a legal right, progress on homelessness in Scotland has stalled. This legal commitment to give every unintentionally homeless person the right to a permanent home attracted international acclaim, but nearly 10 years on it is not where it needs to be.
Homelessness is rising. A record number of children are trapped in temporary accommodation for far too long. Councils are struggling to provide safe temporary homes for people experiencing homelessness. And families still wait far too long for a secure, affordable home. This is a housing emergency.
Everyone needs good quality, secure and affordable housing to live and thrive in. Having a home is central to every aspect of our wellbeing – affecting our physical and mental health, access to employment and our children’s educational attainment.
We have long advocated and campaigned for more social homes to be built to address the lack of affordable homes in Scotland.
We will continue to fight for home and make sure that the Scottish Government’s 2021 commitment to build 110,000 affordable homes, of which 70% must be for social rent, are delivered where they are needed most over the next 10 years.
As well as ensuring that there are enough social rented homes for people who are struggling to find an affordable home, it is also vital that we continue to push for housing rights to be strengthened and ensure that they are properly implemented. We will challenge bodies who are denying people their rights, push for equity of access to justice and for a stronger regulatory framework.
Existing Scottish laws already include strong housing rights and go some way to protecting the human right to housing, yet there is still no legal right to a safe, secure and affordable home.
We continue to advocate for the ‘right to adequate housing’ to be put into Scots law. It will be a major step forward if we secure this right in the upcoming Human Rights Bill, which we have long advocated and campaigned for, and which the Scottish Government has now committed to. This new legislation would fix many of the gaps in current housing legislation and would be a significant step towards Scotland putting its rights aspirations into practice.