Councils unprepared for homelessness target
Some local authorities in Scotland are not prepared for the 2012 homelessness target, figures from the Scottish Government have revealed.
The annual statistics for Scottish homelessness, which were published today [Tuesday], show which councils are categorising homeless applicants as in priority need.
In 2003, the Scottish Government passed the Homelessness (Scotland) Act which set the objective that by 31 December 2012 all homeless applicants would be assessed as priority, making it easier for single homeless people and couples without children to access homeless services.
Between January and March this year, six local authorities assessed 100 per cent of their applicants as a priority - Angus, Dundee, Orkney, Renfrewshire, Stirling and West Dunbartonshire. Angus and Dundee Councils were the only local authorities to assess 100 per cent of homeless as priority throughout the year.
But three local authorities – East Lothian, Scottish Borders and Moray – assessed less than 80 per cent of applicants as priority need.
Graeme Brown, director of Shelter Scotland, said: ‘We know times are tough and local authorities are under increasing pressure, but meeting the 2012 commitment is not a choice, it’s a legislative requirement that cannot be shirked from.
‘With just over a year to go until 31 December 2012, those councils who are failing to deliver need to take urgent action to meet their responsibilities to homeless people or Scottish ministers should intervene to make it happen.
‘We want everyone in Scotland to have the right to a home and the real chance of actually living in one. The challenge remains to ensure there are enough decent affordable houses in Scotland for people to live in.
‘That’s why politicians must prioritise building more houses to end the wait for the 123,000 households across Scotland stuck on housing waiting lists.’
The number of homelessness applications in 2010/11 was the lowest since 2003/04, at 55,227.