Letters: Homelessness is all about people, not hitting targets

At Scottish Churches Housing Action, we are sad, but not surprised, to hear that Edinburgh City Council is struggling to meet the Scottish Government’s target on homelessness (News, December 5).

This national target is not new. Set in 2002, it has helped improve the way councils deal with homelessness. But even then, it was obvious it would only be met if there was a dramatic increase in the provision of new affordable homes – and successive governments have not managed to achieve that.

Scottish Churches Housing Action will publish in the New Year our assessment of progress towards the 2012 target, based on discussions with councils and charities. But what is already clear is that, even in those areas where the target will be met, it sets huge demands on temporary accommodation, and risks squeezing out people who access social housing through the waiting list, rather than through homelessness. This is a good result for no-one.

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We must remember, especially as we approach Christmas, that more than targets or policies, homelessness is about people. People experiencing homelessness are our neighbours, our children, our brothers and sisters. We are not looking for penalties for councils that do not meet the target. We urge the city council to continue in its efforts, as we urge the Scottish Government to provide capital investment for the affordable homes the city needs.

Alastair Cameron, Chief Executive, Scottish Churches Housing Action, Hanover Street, Edinburgh

Cash would see thugs handed in

THE latest “fun” game in town for vandals is throwing large objects from motorway bridges into the path of unsuspecting motorists.

The latest of recent incidents was on the M8 when the windscreen of a van was smashed. (News, December 7). Only by luck was no-one injured.

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The police are asking for witnesses, but surely the best witnesses are those who were with the person who threw the object.

I suggest that the police offer a reward of £5,000 for information leading to an arrest and court appearance.

For £5000 I think that they would “shop their granny”.

If the police then charged the person with attempted murder then any future “hard men” and copycats would think twice.

Problem solved, lives saved and future criminal activities curtailed

Clark Cross, Springfield Road, Linlithgow

Little care shown for mourners

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IT has now reached the sad point when Warriston Crematorium at Edinburgh will have to mark out the areas to allow the free flow of mourners traffic.

I was taking two very elderly ladies to attend the cremation of one of their friends on Wednesday and was prevented from driving into the small car park at the rear by the intransigence of a cortege of funeral vehicles outside the Cloister Chapel.

I arrived at 12.03 to be greeted by four vehicles apparently abandoned outside the chapel and completely blocking my access to the car park.

The funeral director in attendance refused to allow his vehicles to be moved and also obstructed the help offered by the crematorium supervisor.

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I, being a bit more reflective of the location and the reason for being there, did not resort to doing what I wanted to do and sound my horn.

We eventually managed to move round to the car park at 12.18 and were followed by at least another four cars.

It is a depressing time we live in when the tail is wagging the dog.

I would like to see some action against the company and their funeral director to stamp out this disregard for other users at a time of bereavement.

Allan Turner, Edinburgh

Investment plan will boost nation

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THE proposed Scottish Government’s £60 billion Infrastructure Investment Plan is to be applauded and will deliver growth, support jobs and keep Scotland’s economy moving – a lasting legacy that will benefit generations to come.

This is despite savage Westminster cuts to the Scottish Government’s capital budget and the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement providing far too little, far too late.

Such a move in Scotland could go even further, if Westminster were willing to go beyond the current insufficient Scotland Bill proposals on borrowing.

Alex Orr, Leamington Terrace, Edinburgh