Comment on Scottish Government homelessness statistics

Maggie Brunjes, Chief of Executive of Homeless Network Scotland:

“We know homelessness is not always prevented or responded to quickly enough and today’s figures from 2019/20 show there is still work to do, despite such a determined policy environment in Scotland. 

The system itself is outdated and too often doesn’t reflect what actually works and what matters. This is changing but change on the ground can be slow and the pandemic has heaped uncertainty onto an already complex problem. 

“The causes of homelessness are predictable and most often rooted in disadvantage, which restricts people’s options. The figures also highlight housing supply and housing access issues and increasing the supply of suitable homes for families and individuals is pressing.  

“Effective prevention can stop homelessness before it starts and a top-level group is working on how we can get better at this. If someone’s homelessness is not prevented that person should be accommodated quickly in normal, settled housing with the right support – this is the focus of Scotland’s rapid rehousing and Housing First approach.” 

“The statistics released today do not include the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on homelessness: the ‘overnight’ success in lifting people out of rough sleeping, a ban on evictions and urgent measures by charities, councils and government to plan ahead for this winter. Nor do they fully reflect the first year of Scotland’s ground-breaking rapid rehousing plans coming into effect. However, the figures are a reminder that the big, structural systems change needed to end homelessness, which is well underway, must continue at pace.” 

Full details are available on the Scottish Government website here