Further details of a new short term action group which will identify the actions and changes needed to end rough sleeping and transform the use of temporary accommodation in Scotland, has been announced by Housing Minister Kevin Stewart in a Ministerial statement today.
The announcement also included a new £50 million ‘Ending Homelessness Together’ fund which will be used to back the commitment and fund homelessness prevention initiatives over the next five years.
Jon Sparkes, Chief Executive of the homelessness charity Crisis will chair the action group and a panel of members will be appointed shortly. The action group will meet next month and will examine:
- Plans to minimise rough sleeping this winter;
- How to eradicate rough sleeping for good;
- Ways to transform temporary accommodation;
- How to bring about an end to homelessness in Scotland.
Housing Minister Kevin Stewart said:
“We want to see an end to rough sleeping and the appointment of our Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Action Group will lead the way in recommending the actions and legislative changes we need to take across all levels of government, to tackle homelessness and the use of temporary accommodation.
“I am delighted to announce Jon Sparkes will chair the Action Group. Jon brings with him a wealth of knowledge and expertise in homelessness and will provide real value and leadership to the group.
“We are committed to erradicating rough sleeping in Scotland and know this requires more than just the provision of housing- every individual has their own unique needs and challenges. To achieve this we need to ensure we have a joined up approach across all sectors to improve prevention.
“Scotland has led the way in ensuring rights for homeless people and we want to continue to lead the way and transform the outcomes for those that feel they are stuck in a cycle of homelessness and poverty.”
Sandra White MSP for Glasgow Kelvin said:
“I am delighted to see that tackling homelessness is high on the priorities of SNP Scottish and Glasgow City Governments, with an action group, £50m fund, and a Glasgow City Strategy.
“We have already seen how Scottish Government action groups on widening access, children in care, and Brexit have delivered priority focus and significant outcomes; I am pleased that homelessness will receive this vital attention.”
Jon Sparkes, Chief Executive of Crisis, said:
“It’s an honour to be asked to Chair this Action Group which will bring forward solutions to help end homelessness in Scotland.
“The Scottish Government has rightly identified that a renewed effort is required to stop more people experiencing different forms of homelessness. Their £50million ‘Ending Homelessness Together’ fund along with their commitment to end rough sleeping and transform the use of temporary accommodation will change people’s lives.
“I firmly believe we can end homelessness for good, we know the scale of the problem and this Group will focus firmly on deliverable solutions which prevent, tackle and end homelessness for people. There’s some hard work to be done but I believe the expertise and knowledge of those on the Group means we will be up to the challenge and I look forward to quickly getting to work.
“This year marks 50 years from when Crisis was founded, but this is not a cause for celebration with homelessness still so prevalent. It is time for us to think afresh about solutions to the problem and Crisis is working across Great Britain to develop an evidence-based plan for how to end homelessness. For Crisis there is simply no place for scepticism or hesitation. It is our firm belief that together, we will end homelessness.”