Scottish Liberal Democrat housing spokesperson Paul McGarry has today demanded the SNP set out fresh plans to tackle homelessness, as research undertaken by the party revealed that there were 13,575 households in temporary accommodation last Christmas.
To tackle homelessness, Scottish Liberal Democrats are calling for the Scottish Government to:
- Take forward the Housing First and Rapid Rehousing principles to end rough sleeping and homelessness, by providing both housing and other support services to individuals in need.
- Address the additional challenges for young homeless people with special pathways to link suitable jobs and training to housing.
- Bring forward new legislation which would strengthen the duties on public bodies to prevent homelessness.
- Offer help to renovate loans to bring derelict homes back into use.
- Build 60,000 affordable homes to help address homelessness, including 40,000 for social rent – a more ambitious target than the SNP/Green Government’s target.
- Increase the number of homes constructed for social rent and re-establish social renting as a valid long-term option for people.
Mr McGarry, who was made homeless himself at 16, said:
“When most of us are settling down for a comfortable and secure Christmas, it is important to remember that thousands upon thousands of Scots are not so lucky. These figures show almost 14,000 households in temporary accommodation last Christmas. More will have been living on the streets or sofa-surfing.
“Living without a secure home takes a huge toll on people’s mental and physical health. It also sets back children’s development in a way that can leave them worse off for life.
“The rapid work to house people at the start of the pandemic showed what can be done when the political will is there.
“The SNP have had 14 years in charge and they have barely made a dent. It’s time to grasp the nettle and get to work building thousands more social homes across Scotland. It takes more than a roof to tackle homelessness, so this is also a reflection of failed policies on drugs, mental health and more besides.”