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Wednesday, 27 February, 2002, 16:51 GMT
Ministers make homeless pledge
homeless people
Rough sleeping is homelessness at its most visible
The Scottish Executive has backed all 59 recommendations made by an expert group set up to investigate homelessness.

They include changes to current legislation, an end to the use of bed and breakfast accommodation for families and the introduction of rent deposit guarantee schemes.

Responding to the final report from the Homelessness Task Force, Social Minister Iain Gray promised that every homeless person would have the right to a permanent roof over their head by 2012.

Mr Gray said the executive had allocated an extra 11m over the next two years to help implement the recommendations.

The report is as much about changing attitudes and practices as it is about changing the law.

Robert Aldridge
"Homelessness in all its forms is an affront to social justice," he declared.

"The Scottish Executive believes everyone in Scotland should have a decent, secure home and this report gives us a blueprint for preventing and tackling homelessness over the next 10 years.

"We must prevent homelessness occurring - avoiding significant amounts of human misery, in some cases saving lives."

Homelessness Bill

The Scottish Cabinet, meeting on Wednesday, agreed to bring forward legislation to put the homelessness drive on the statute book.

A spokesman said: "A homelessness Bill will be brought before Parliament this year."

The Homelessness Task Force was set up three years ago and has involved public and voluntary agencies including the Scottish Executive and the Scottish Council for Single Homeless (SCSH).

Big Issue
The Big Issue was involved in the task force
SCSH director Robert Aldridge said: "The report is as much about changing attitudes and practices as it is about changing the law.

"But it also recognises that to tackle homelessness effectively, we need an improved supply of affordable, good quality housing in places where people want to live."

The Scottish National Party's justice spokesman Kenny Gibson said the Labour Government had presided over a 40% rise in homelessness since it came to power in 1997.

He called the report a "damning indictment" of the executive's failure to tackle homelessness.

'True extent'

The Glasgow Housing Association said it backed the commitment made by the executive.

The task force was charged with reviewing the causes and nature of homelessness in Scotland and its report is expected to highlight the true extent of the problem.

The group was also asked to examine current practice in dealing with cases of homelessness and how it can best be prevented.

See also:

25 Jan 02 | Scotland
Homeless coffee project launched
29 Mar 01 | Scotland
Homeless figures fall in Scotland
20 Mar 01 | Scotland
Rough sleepers come in from the cold
25 Aug 99 | Scotland
Task force homes in on homelessness
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