Moderator urges support for Shelter homelessness campaign

Rt Rev Dr Russell Barr and Shelter Director Graeme Brown met up this week to discuss Shelter’s new campaign ‘Far From Fixed’ and what can be done to end homelessness in Scotland.

Moderator and Shelter Scotland director
Rt Rev Dr Russell Barr with Shelter Scotland Director Graeme Brown

The Moderator, who is supporting the campaign, is encouraging all of us to sign the Far from Fixed petition, which is asking the Scottish Government to create a National Homelessness Strategy to tackle the problem.

Dr Barr said:

“I was involved for many years with Fresh Start, supporting people who have been homeless and it’s quite disgraceful that we’re at the same levels of homelessness that we were 20 years ago.

“So I hope you will all join me in signing the petition and making it clear that there is no room in Scotland for homelessness today.”

Mr Brown highlighted Shelter’s research showing that, while 5,000 people sleep rough in Scotland’s streets every night, the problem is much larger.

More than 10,000 people are in temporary accommodation—including 5,000 children—and 150,000 families are on waiting lists for social housing. Vulnerable groups – including young people who are leaving local authority care—are among the most affected.

Mr Brown said:

“We have to do better. This is the 21st century and the thing about being homeless is that it affects so many other aspects of your life— your ability to get a job, your health. So we really think this is important now, not just for the individuals involved but also for local communities and indeed for Scotland itself. We need to look after people who need a hand.”

The campaign is calling on the government to develop a strategy that includes efforts to increase the number of affordable homes, creating prevention networks and removing barriers that prevent homeless people from getting help in many parts of the country.

Sign the petition.

The Moderator will be speaking about homelessness at the Scottish Churches Housing Action conference on 7 October. Kevin Stewart MSP, Minister for Local Government and Housing is also expected to speak at the event.