The Scottish Churches Housing Action input to the Scottish Government's 'Fresh Thinking, New Ideas' housing consultation has cast doubt on its 2012 homelessness target, and calls for an increase in commitment and action all round.
The national homelessness charity, yesterday (22 September 2010) responded to the consultation with a warning that the much-praised target may not be met.
SCHA chief executive Alastair Cameron called on the Scottish Housing Minister, Alex Neil MSP, to redouble efforts to keep on track.
The homelessness target, set in 2002, declares that by 2012, everyone applying as homeless, except those who had intentionally made themselves so, would be entitled to settled housing. This is one of four housing-related targets that the consultation paper addresses.
“We have said to the Minister for the first time that it looks as though the target may not be met,” commented Mr Cameron.
He continued: “Scotland hasn’t been building enough new affordable homes to meet the target, and the current spending cuts mean that councils won’t be able to maintain the support arrangements that are vital.”
In a letter to the minister, Scottish Churches Housing Action says the charity remains a wholehearted supporter of the target.
If it is not met by 2012, efforts should be redoubled to achieve it subsequently. This requires action at local level being supported by a strong lead from the Scottish Government.
“As a national organisation with a track record on training and developing new volunteering projects, we at Churches Housing can make a contribution,” adds Alastair Cameron.
“Central and local government and the voluntary sector all have roles to play in reaching this ambitious and historic target,” he says.
The Scottish Government’s reform paper 'Housing: Fresh Thinking, New Ideas' (http://housingdiscussion.scotland.gov.uk/) was published on 24 May 2010.
As well as the 2012 homelessness target, it addresses the Scottish Housing Quality target (2015); the fuel poverty target (2016); and the carbon emissions target (2020).
Scottish Churches Housing Action brings together the major Christian denominations in Scotland under the slogan 'No Room for Homelessness!'
As well as promoting the use of redundant and under-used churches for affordable housing, it develops local, volunteer-based, projects to help homeless people, and campaigns on their behalf.
The full SCHA briefing and response paper can be read at: www.churches-housing.org/news.php?id=136