Scottish Liberal Democrat social security spokesperson Caron Lindsay has today warned that the severe problems faced by homeless people are a “damning indictment of both of Scotland’s governments” after a new report highlighted the scale of difficulties homeless people face in accessing essential care and services.
The report by the Mental Welfare Commission for Scotland found that more than half of homeless people interviewed said they experienced depression, almost half had experienced sexual or physical abuse, more than a quarter had been in care and almost half had spent some time in prison.
The report also found some homeless people faced "significant" difficulties in getting registered with a GP while those diagnosed with both mental ill-health and addiction issues sometimes had difficulty in getting help. The commission also heard that the benefits system was "not set up well for homeless people".
Commenting on the report Ms Lindsay said:
“This report highlights the massive problems in accessing basic services like medical and mental health support for the most vulnerable people in our society. With homelessness on the rise this report should serve as a damning indictment of both of Scotland’s governments.
“With new social security powers being devolved to Scotland, the government must set out how it is going to ensure these services will be made accessible to those experiencing homelessness.
“What’s more Scottish Liberal Democrats want to see an investment in mental health professionals co-located with the police, GP practices, A&E services and in prisons with a focus on providing effective rehabilitation.”