Thirty organisations have teamed up to call on political parties to get behind a 10-year plan to end homelessness.
The 30 groups, which include charities, experts and people with lived experience, are asking MSPs and candidates in next year’s Scottish Parliament elections to support a new route map.
Published by Everyone Home Collective, the group hopes all parties will support five key actions over two parliamentary terms: prioritising prevention; providing more homes; ending rough sleeping; no evictions into homelessness; and a systems change.
Maggie Brunjes, chief executive of Homeless Network Scotland, said: “Homelessness is not inevitable, or an unsolvable problem. The causes are predictable and we know who is most at risk – we can end homelessness in Scotland over two parliaments.
“Scotland already has a robust policy environment in place that we want to see strengthened and ramped up over the next decade to get everyone home.
“Sustaining the cross-party accord on tackling homelessness that underpins the current approach in Scotland, and continuing this into the next parliament and beyond, would provide consistency and stability.
“It would enable everyone to build on progress so far and complete the infrastructure that will consign homelessness to history.”
The 30 organisations have written to all of Scotland’s political parties urging them to back the proposals and plan to meet representatives in the months leading up to the election in May 1.
Alison Watson, Shelter Scotland director, said: “Reducing affordable housing needs must be a central ambition of the next Scottish Parliament.
“Delivering the social and affordable homes we need is the only way to tackle the root causes of rising homelessness, and it will help Scotland meet its climate targets and reduce poverty and inequality.
“Our next intake of MSPs have the power to achieve this, and it’s the single most important step they can take toward a safer, healthier, fairer future.”
Lorraine McGrath, chief executive of Simon Community Scotland, said: “We have seen just how possible it is to reach, engage and resolve people’s experience of homelessness, even those facing the most extreme challenges, when the right combination of resources, partnership and the absolute will to make things happen combine.
“What was achieved for people experiencing rough sleeping in the early days of lockdown was remarkable, but not entirely unexpected, we have always known it was possible with the right conditions in place. That experience underpins this route map, making it a simple choice for our politicians.”
In its manifesto, the group said poverty in childhood is the most powerful predictor of homelessness in later life.
Everyone Home said one of the best ways to end child poverty by 2030 is building more socially rented housing, which would help reduce housing need.
Earlier this year, Edinburgh Poverty Commission highlighted that housing costs were one of the biggest contributors to poverty.
Janet Haugh, chief executive of Ypeople, said: “Last year Ypeople helped end homelessness for more than 3,000 people through accommodation services and community support.
“Since March, there has been a huge amount of work and unprecedented steps taken by local authorities and other organisations to make sure people can isolate safely during Covid-19.
“However, as we come through this pandemic, we risk a huge spike of people of all ages facing homelessness across Scotland.
“By working together, we can all play a role in rebuilding our local communities and end homelessness in Scotland for good.”