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Scottish Government publishes their Ending Homelessness Together Action Plan

Today the Scottish Government published their Ending Homelessness Together Action Plan. This was formulated in response to the 70 recommendations made by the Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Action Group (HARSAG) and places Scotland as a world leader in the drive to end homelessness. Commenting on the release of the Plan Jon Sparkes, Chief Executive of Crisis and Chair of HARSAG, said: 

“This is an ambitious plan that firmly positions Scotland as a world-leader in the drive to end homelessness. The Scottish Government have already acted decisively in committing to a housing-led approach, and local authorities have responded by preparing new plans to introduce a rapid re-housing approach. 

“The turnaround has been swift and the approach is bold but achievable if the commitment is shared across local government, housing associations and homelessness charities. This plan rightly focusses on putting homeless people at the heart decision-making about solutions, and also makes clear that the best way of tackling homelessness is to prevent it in the first place. 

“I am glad to see that there is an annual commitment to report progress on the plan to Parliament and that this will be linked to the Scottish Government’s own national performance framework. While much of the delivery of the plan will be undertaken at local level, it’s vital that the government maintain oversight and overall accountability on how it is implemented and an ambitious set of targets would demonstrate how homelessness is being ended for more people. 

“There are elements within the plan that are not yet fully fleshed out, including exactly how and when crucial changes in the law will be made. We urgently need to see a prevention duty for local authorities and other public bodies, and the scourge of denying access to help because of 'intentional' homelessness needs to end. We would also like to see the legal backstop of a seven-day time limit in unsuitable emergency accommodation for all homeless people enacted this year. 

"However, overall this plan presents us with a chance to get behind bold and transformative reforms, and see Scotland lead the way once again. It is a unique opportunity to get policies and services right for homeless people, but also to look beyond homelessness into the wider systemic issues of inequality and poverty to bring an end to the injustice of homelessness in Scotland once and for all.”