The Scottish Government must take urgent action to end homelessness in Scotland, Scottish Greens co-leader Patrick Harvie MSP has said.
Mr Harvie made the call after experimental statistics published by the National Records of Scotland estimated that 216 homeless people died in 2019, an increase of 11% on the previous year.
Patrick Harvie MSP said:
“These statistics reveal the pre-pandemic tragedy of homeless deaths in Scotland. The Scottish Government claims that ending homelessness is a priority, but these figures show that, sadly, its action has not lived up to that rhetoric.
“Early on in the pandemic there was a huge effort to effectively end street homelessness. It showed what could be done when there is an urgent political imperative to act. Now, as we look toward the future beyond the pandemic it's essential that ending homelessness genuinely becomes a priority for government. A housing first approach which ensures everyone has a roof over their head, and is able to access all the support services they require is absolutely essential.
“The Scottish Government must also urgently address the causes of homelessness. Scotland is decades behind many of our European neighbours when it comes to protecting tenants. During the pandemic Greens have pushed the government to introduce and then extend the winter eviction ban and a tenants’ hardship fund. It’s vital that these measures are made permanent and additional protections like rent controls are introduced to ensure everyone in Scotland knows that the roof over their head is secure.”