16 Sep Homeless Action Scotland on Scottish Housing Day
At Homeless Action Scotland we welcome today’s celebration of Scottish Housing and this year’s particular focus on social housing. However, Scotland as a nation needs to do so much better.
Social housing, irrespective of council or housing association is a vital part of how we support people in our society.
In Scotland, successive governments have produced some of the most progressive housing and homeless legislation in the world. We have chosen a legislative path that gives a lot of power, opportunity and support for tenants.
Over the years there have been some gains such as those around evictions and the processes involved in removing someone from their home.
However, we have also had some lost opportunities. Within the private sector where, in practice, it is still far too easy to evict a family on relatively short notice.
We also feel that those who are homeless, or who are about to be, can find themselves on a journey which is more negative to their health, mental health and relationships than it has to be. There are some amazing social landlords out there, but there are some who are not performing as they should maybe it is time that we recognise this. Perhaps it’s time to celebrate those who are good and highlight those that are not.
After all, it is YOUR housing, even if you don’t live in social housing. You might not need it today, but you or someone you love might need it tomorrow.
Having a stable home is one of the most important aspects of being able to thrive, no matter what your situation is. If you are seeking work, having a home where you can job search and get prepared for interviews is vital. If you have older children who are studying for their exams, a stable home supports these studies immeasurably. If you have just emerged from an abusive relationship, feeling safe is imperative. If you are coming out of prison somewhere stable helps you build your life back and move on. Let’s be clear, a stable home is second only to one’s health in the fundamental building blocks of living a happy and fulfilled life.
As the spectre of the next Scottish general election rears its head, our attention turns to what Scotland’s various political parties will promise for homeless people and those at risk of homelessness.
We will be watching them, examining their statements and challenging them on their ambition for Scottish people.
We need a much more radical vision for social housing. We need a commitment to hugely expand new build social housing, change allocation policies to ensure that homeless people are prioritised and further ensure that Scottish housing rights are rights guaranteed.
We also need to make clear that we will not allow great innovations such as ‘Housing First’ to be warped by organisations claiming the benefits of the approach without putting in the necessary diligence and resources.
Let’s be clear, the socially rented sector in Scotland plays a huge role in making Scotland better and we are happy to support Scottish Housing Day. But be assured that we will always push hard for more. Pushing hard for what’s right.