THE Scottish Government has pledged to eradicate homelessness as a new report outlines what action it has taken to tackle the issue.

Ending Homelessness Together was published by ministers in November 2018 with the aim of ending homelessness and rough sleeping across Scotland. It set out a five-year programme to address the problem and to transform temporary accommodation, backed by £50 million in funding.

In its annual report detailing, the Scottish Government document said 39 out of the 49 measures have been progressed in the first year of the action plan. Plans are in place to start work on the remaining 10 measures in this year.

Some of the actions under way include adopting a person-centred approach to tackling the issue, ensuring a child wellbeing assessment is undertaken when children are homeless, as well as supporting front-line staff in their work. Also under progression is a move to support local winter planning and to press the UK Government on the issue of homelessness of migrants.

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Housing Minister Kevin Stewart said the action plan is helping to make sure support is in place for those who need it. He said: “People facing homelessness in Scotland already have some of the strongest rights in the world. We are going even further and are determined to eradicate homelessness.

“Our report shows significant progress has been made in the first year of our transition to a rapid rehousing approach, which prioritises permanent, settled accommodation as the first response. It also shows that our £50m action plan is working to ensure the right support is in place for those who need it.”

The National: Housing Minister Kevin Stewart MSP pictured in Govanhill  Photo: Colin Mearns

He added: “The Housing First Pathfinder programme has seen 173 people with multiple, complex needs, such as mental health issues or drug and alcohol addiction, being given settled accommodation with the additional support they require since it began in April 2019.

“Our action plan also includes a commitment to tackling the causes of homelessness and changing the culture across the public sector.

“In 2020, we will work in partnership with local government, the third sector, people with experience of homelessness and front-line services to ensure our system does all it can to prevent homelessness.”

Jon Sparkes, CEO of homelessness charity Crisis and chairman of the Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Action Group, said there is “no time to waste” in ending homelessness. He said: “The Scottish Government has demonstrated in the first year of the action plan that it is determined to tackle and end homelessness. It is clearly following through on the commitments it made.”

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