Shelter Scotland launched its Homelessness: Far From Fixed campaign one year ago, and many high profile organisations, such as Homeless Action Scotland (HAS) and the Association of Local Authority Chief Housing Officers have signed up to show their support. Among these, the University of Glasgow’s own Queen Margaret Union has also signed up.
The campaign has four main demands – a safe and affordable house for everyone, help to be made available for everyone to keep or find a home, a strong housing safety net to support people if they do lose their home, and that no one should ever have to sleep rough on Scotland’s streets.
Shelter criticised both the local and national government for their response to homelessness in Scotland, describing the current levels of homelessness in Scotland as a “national badge of shame”. Both Shelter Scotland and HAS will give evidence to the Scottish Parliament committee on homelessness.
Since the launch of Shelter’s campaign, progress has been made. In September, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced in the new programme for the Scottish government that an action group on homelessness was to be created along with a £50m fund named “Ending Homelessness Together”. The previous programme did not feature homelessness.
The CEO of Homelessness Action Scotland, Gavin Yates, has welcomed the Scottish government’s recent focus on rough sleeping and homelessness. He describes HAS as the “only national membership organisation for those committed to end homelessness” and promises that they will play their part in “ensuring that the voice of our members in the voluntary sector, local authorities and housing associations are heard loudly. We are happy to be associated with Shelter Scotland’s campaign and as a key member of ours we will do everything we can to support them in their aim of ending homelessness.”
The director of Shelter Scotland, Graeme Brown, added: “We began our campaign 12 months ago to show that homelessness can still happen to anyone, that people become homeless through chance not choice and to call for renewed focus on homelessness across Scotland.
“Our campaign has clearly caught the attention of the Scottish Government and we thank everyone who has signed up to our campaign to get us this far, including 27 housing, homelessness and third sector organisations in Scotland. We are making real progress.”
President of the QMU, Priya Khindria said: “We were more than happy to give our name due to the fact Shelter is a charity we have supported year on year. As we are not experts in homelessness we look to Shelter to advise us in what more we can do to help and are actively pursuing this advice from Shelter. We are proud to have our name to be associated with this campaign and look forward to pushing this campaign further.”