Edinburgh Council backs Shelter Scotland's campaign for a legal right to housing

Council housing chiefs have signed up to a campaign calling for a right in housing to be protected by law - as the authority presses to move homeless people in the Capital into flats.

Saturday, 28th December 2019, 4:00 pm
Cllr Claire Miller, Cllr Chas Booth, Cllr Kate Campbell and Cllr Jim Campbell are supporting the Shelter Scotland campaign for a right to housing to be protected by law

The council’s housing chief has backed a campaign for everyone in Scotland to have a legal right to a decent home as the authority presses to move all homeless people out of temporary accommodation and into flats.

Edinburgh City Council has given the thumbs up to Shelter Scotland’s appeal, which was launched after research carried out by YouGov on behalf of the charity revealed that 88 per cent of people surveyed agreed that everyone in Scotland should have a legal right to a safe, secure and affordable home. The study also found that 76 per cent support a new law being created in Scotland for adequate housing to be provided for everyone in the country. The research also found that 78 per cent support Shelter Scotland campaigning for stronger human rights in relation to housing.

The council has pledged cross-party support for the campaign and has brought forward a host of measures to prevent homelessness including building 20,000 affordable homes – while the authority’s rapid rehousing transition plan aims to move all homeless people in the Capital out of unsuitable temporary accommodation and could include proposals to expand a ‘housing first’ project.

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The council’s housing, homelessness and fair work convener, Cllr Kate Campbell, said: “We believe everyone should have the right to a safe, warm home that they can afford. The council’s housing, homelessness and fair work committee agreed a motion to show support for Shelter Scotland’s ‘Are You With Us’ campaign and we invited Shelter to come and speak to us about the campaign at the City Chambers.

“There is enormous pressure on housing in Edinburgh and we’ve absolutely prioritised finding ways to alleviate that pressure.”

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She added: “We’ve committed to build 20,000 affordable homes over 10 years – with over 2,000 homes currently under construction on over 35 sites across the city. Our rapid rehousing transition plan is also about getting to a place where the number of homeless presentations is equal to the number of homes available every year, and people who do become homeless can move straight into a permanent, settled home.

“We’ve launched housing first and committed to ongoing funding, we’ve improved temporary accommodation and increased the number of flats available for families, we’ve introduced rapid access accommodation to break down barriers to people who are rough sleeping so it is easier to access help and support and we’ve focussed on prevention, working in partnership with Crisis and introducing dedicated housing officers to help people stay in their own homes.

“Unfortunately there is always more to do, but we are committed to continuing work to prevent and end homelessness in our city.”

Launching the campaign, Graeme Brown, director of Shelter Scotland, said: “Too many people in Scotland don’t have access to the basic right of a decent and affordable home – which is simply wrong in the 21st century in one of the world’s wealthiest countries.

“There are more than 14,000 homeless children currently in Scotland and nearly 11,000 households in temporary accommodation. We also have rising numbers of people sleeping rough across the country. The evidence is clear – people’s rights to a home need to be significantly strengthened.

“Through this campaign we want the people of Scotland to know that a good home is their right – not a privilege – and it should be law.”