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Homelessness Campaign Goes to Holyrood

Published: 6 December 2016

Homelessness Campaign Goes to Holyrood

They were joined by carol singers from Edinburgh’s Costorphine Primary School, a Christmas tree and a giant snakes and ladders board game – Chance Not Choice – which illustrates how life chances affect people’s ability to keep a roof over their head.

Homelessness: Far From Fixed, which already has strong backing from the public and local politicians across Scotland, hits Holyrood on the same day the charity releases details of a rise in the number of people contacting it for help in the last year, saying that it helped more people last year than in any previous year.

In the last 12 months, 20,882 calls were made to its free national helpline – an increase of 6% on the previous year, 2,794 online digital chat advice sessions were provided and unique visits to its online Get Advice pages at www.sheltercotland.org increased to 726,000.

The charity says more than 5,200 children will wake up homeless this Christmas in Scotland and around 30,000 households were made homeless last year, with 10,500 forced to live in temporary accommodation.

Shelter Scotland has called Scotland’s current level of homelessness a national badge of shame for one of the world’s richest nations.  It has accused local and national government of taking their eye off the ball in recent years on efforts to tackle and prevent homelessness in Scotland.

The homelessness campaign urges members of the public and politicians to sign up to its demands of local and national government. The campaign’s four main demands are:

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

Adam Lang, Head of Policy and Communications at Shelter Scotland, said:

“It’s shameful that each year there are thousands of people sleeping rough on our streets, that there are thousands more hidden homeless people sofa surfing with friends and that on Christmas morning this year more than 5,000 children in Scotland will wake up homeless in temporary accommodation.

“We are outside the Scottish Parliament today to highlight the plight of homeless children at Christmas and urge MSPs to sign up to our campaign aimed at finally fixing the human tragedy of homelessness. Frankly, we think it’s a disgrace that homelessness still exists in Scotland today.  We are one of the richest nations in the world, yet nearly 30,000 households became homeless last year.”

Adam Lang added:

“We know that times are tough for more and more people because we see it every day - with more calls to our free national helpline, dozens of people using our digital chat service and thousands of visits to our online advice pages.

“It’s clear from these increasing numbers of people needing help that we are still failing far too many people in our society, particularly the most vulnerable, with the most basic of human rights - the right to shelter and a home.

“It is now time for local and national government to take bold action to tackle the tragedy of homelessness head-on.”

Adam Lang concluded:

“Homelessness can happen to anyone.  People become homeless through chance not choice. Our ‘Far From Fixed’ campaign aims to highlight that we still have a long way to go to end homelessness in Scotland.”

In support of its Far From Fixed campaign launch, Shelter Scotland has produced a detailed policy paper (1) outlining its vision of the next steps and priority actions for homelessness policy in Scotland and the need for a new National Homelessness Strategy.

People can support Shelter Scotland’s Christmas campaign by visiting shelterscotland.org or text SHELTER to 70123* and donate £3 to support our work to prevent homelessness.

National Homelessness Statistics:

  • 28,226 households in Scotland assessed as homeless last year
  • 10,555 households in Scotland currently in temporary accommodation
  • 5224 children in Scotland currently in temporary accommodation
  • 20,882 calls to our free, national helpline in the last year
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