Orkney MSP Liam McArthur has met with campaigners from Shelter Scotland in the Scottish Parliament to discuss the charity’s new campaign to tackle homelessness.
The campaign ‘Homelessness: Far From Fixed’ highlights the human cost of homelessness and calls for urgent action to tackle both the causes and the consequences.
According to Scottish Government figures, 122 people in Orkney made an application to Orkney Islands Council under the Homeless Persons legislation in 2016-2017, up 26% on the year previous.
The Far From Fixed campaign’s four main demands are:
- A safe and affordable home for everyone
- Help is available for everyone to keep or find a home
- A strong housing safety net to catch people if they do lose their home
- And, that no-one should ever have to sleep rough on Scotland’s streets
In backing the campaign, Mr McArthur said:
“It is clear from these figures that we still have a long way to go in tackling homelessness here in Orkney and across Scotland. For individuals and families affected, the experience can be horrendous. In 2017, everyone should have access to the security of a safe, warm home.
“I pay tribute to the work done locally by Orkney Islands Council and Orkney Housing Association to address this problem, though clearly further action is required. We need to see an increase in the number of homes for social rent and a social security system that ensures services are accessible to those experiencing homelessness.
“It is also good to see Shelter Scotland keeping the profile of this issue high. They are absolutely right in saying that homelessness is far from fixed”.
Graeme Brown, Director of Shelter Scotland, added:
“I am heartened to see MSPs, including Liam McArthur MSP show support for our campaign by taking the time to talk to us in parliament and find out more about how the issue is affecting constituents.
“We are seeing new steps being taken, including the Scottish Government’s creation of a £50 million ‘Ending Homelessness Together’ fund and the launch of an action group on homelessness but we really need MSPs from across the political spectrum to work together with us to make an even bigger difference.”