Scotland needs accurate rough sleepers survey

Homeless action

Accurate figures needed to gauge extent of the problem 

2nd October 2017 by Robert Armour 0 Comments

Scotland needs a national survey to find out how many people are sleeping rough on our streets.

Homeless Action Scotland made the call, revealing the last time a check was carried out was 15 years ago.

The number of people rough sleeping is now much higher, says the charity, and called on the Scottish Government to support the research as part of its homeless prevention programme.

Homeless Action Scotland which has voluntary organisations, local authorities and registered social landlords as part of its membership, called for an urgent update.

Gavin Yates, chief executive, said: "For too long the narrative was that rough sleeping and homelessness was diminishing, when organisations on the ground have been telling us the opposite.

"The first minister made it clear in her programme for government that she saw that the numbers were going the wrong way. We welcome this but now call to go forward and get an accurate count of rough sleepers in Scotland based upon a solid methodology.

"Without knowing where we are it is difficult to assess how long a journey we are embarking upon.

"The aim of ending rough sleeping is shared by everyone in Scotland but simply moving people from the streets to night shelters or B&B's or other unsuitable temporary accommodation is not going to be a sufficient response to this problem for a proud, modern nation like ours."

According to the available figures, the number of people sleeping rough increased in 2016-17, with 1,500 people saying they had resorted to this the night before seeking help from the council, up from 1,361 the previous year.

At the same time the number who said they had slept rough at some point in the last three months increased from 2,427 to 2,621.

First minister Nicola Sturgeon made it clear in her Programme for Government that she saw that the numbers were going the wrong way.

“We welcome this but now call to go forward and get an accurate count of rough sleepers in Scotland based upon a solid methodology.

“Without knowing where we are, it is difficult to assess how long a journey we are embarking upon.”

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