Charity Urges Scots Parties To End Homlessness

21 March 2016, 06:08 | Updated: 21 March 2016, 06:09

A charity is calling for all Scottish parties to back its five-point plan to end homelessness.

National charity Crisis launched its manifesto to end homelessness on Monday outlining key priorities for the next Scottish Government to help get people off the streets, including bringing in a time limit on temporary accommodation and investing in more proactive prevention.

The charity also wants increased support for homeless people with complex needs such as mental health or substance abuse problems, a commitment to using devolved powers on benefits to prevent homelessness and the development of a new cross-departmental strategy for tackling the issue.

Scottish Social Justice Minister Alex Neil has endorsed the manifesto and it has won support from Scottish Labour and the Scottish Conservatives.

Crisis wants all parties to include the plan in their own election manifestos.

Jon Sparkes, Crisis chief executive, said Scotland had "blazed a trail in the battle against homelessness'', praising the abolition of priority need in 2012 which gave all unintentionally homeless people in Scotland the right to settled housing, but warned against "complacency''.

He said: "That's why we're launching this manifesto - it will act as a blueprint for the next Scottish Government to maintain momentum and build on what has already been achieved.

"Despite the extension of rights, homelessness is increasingly visible on the streets of Scotland. We need to get better at prevention and develop a truly cross-departmental strategy that mitigates recent cuts to local authority budgets and social security.

"We warmly welcome the cross-party support our manifesto has received - it signals the vital, ongoing commitment that fighting this devastating social injustice needs. We look forward to working with all parties to continue this fight following the election in May.''