Groups call on 'decisive' action on Scottish homelessness

A group of housing and anti-poverty organisations has called for "decisive action'' on homelessness in an open letter to Communities Secretary Angela Constance.

The 11 organisations including Shelter Scotland raised the issue following the death of a homeless man in Glasgow.

A demonstration was organised after the man was found in the city's Trongate after a bitterly cold night earlier this month.

The charities cited the example as they called for a new national homelessness strategy to be brought forward by ministers.

They wrote: "This was not the first such story and it will not be the last. It is a badge of shame that homelessness still exists in our society.

"We the undersigned are profoundly concerned by the current lack of political leadership and urgency in relation to tackling homelessness in Scotland today.

"Without decisive action, we are endangering the lives of a growing number of people forced to sleep rough on the streets of our towns and cities, and condemning many more individuals and families to a life in limbo, by forcing them to stay for increasing lengths of time in so-called temporary accommodation.

"There is now a real danger of squandering the legacy of Scotland's world-leading 2012 commitment on homelessness - which gave everyone the right to a settled home.''

The group said priorities including closing the education attainment gap, improving health outcomes, eradicating child poverty and reducing reoffending are being undermined by the ``failure to grasp the significance of preventing and tackling homelessness''.

A new national strategy involving local and national government would help tackle the root causes of the issue, the group argued.

The letter was signed by Shelter Scotland, Positive Action in Housing, the Church of Scotland, Cyrenians, Who Cares? Scotland, Simon Community, Streetwork, the Poverty Alliance, Legal Services Agency, Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, National Union of Students Scotland and Scottish Federation of Housing Associations.

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