The STO has been campaigning for an end to Homelessness in Scotland.
NO GOING BACK for the Homeless is the title of a New Campaign to stop the Homeless being put back on our streets in Scotland post Covid-19. We are calling on the Scottish Government to implement a coherent action plan to give all Homeless People in temporary accomodation permanent tenancies by doing the following immediately:
- Use all empty properties and refurbish them.
- Buy up Airbnb properties by local authorities to become permanent accommodation for the homeless.
- Expand Housing First with wraparound services for those with addiction and mental health issues.
- Upscale Rapid Re-Housing Transition.
- Flipping of temporary to permanent tenancies.
If the above is done it can help eliminate homelessness in the short term but in the medium term we need the Scottish Government to:
- Commit to building a minimum of 12,000 socially rented homes each year in Scotland.
- Institute rent reductions in the public and private sectors as tenants have been paying high rents for year.
- Implement a no eviction policy for rent arrears to give relief to all tenants during the hard times ahead.
NO GOING BACK is our Campaign to persuade the Scottish Government to meaningfully tackle the problem of Homelessness once and for all in 21st century Scotland.
Please join our NO GOING BACK CAMPAIGN now.
Scottish Tenants Organisation
News Update: 28th August 2020
NOT ALL TENANTS ARE PROTECTED FROM EVICTION THIS WINTER
It has been signposted by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon that she will extend protections for many tenants in Scotland until March 2021 in a new Corona Virus Bill which will be put to the Scottish Parliament on Tuesday 1st September 2020. This is very welcome but not all tenants are protected from eviction for rent arrears because the Scottish Government have misled the media that this a no eviction policy until March 2021 when in fact what will be announced is merely an extension of the notice a landlord can give to a tenant they wish to evict.
This is because the current provisions are not an eviction ban and this means that all notices to leave given since 7th April 2020 will happen this winter so if tenants refuse to move out eviction orders can be secured from the courts. Since the courts reconvened in Scotland 40 eviction orders have been issued according to Andy Wightman Green MSP. His research also reveals that there are more than 500 outstanding applications for eviction orders which will be dealt in the months ahead. Almost all of these are for rent arrears in the private rental sector which has massively expanded in recent years.
The Scottish Tenants Organisation is demanding a real winter eviction ban for all rent arrears and the establishment of Tenant Hardship Fund to help Tenants in Scotland who will be living in hardship this winter. There can be no more smoke and mirrors but real help for our most vulnerable who could end up on the streets this winter.
News Update: 11th August 2020
Scottish Tenants Organisation calls on the Scottish Government to do more to mitigate the hostile environment. The right to housing should not be bordered.
The right to housing is enshrined under Article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human
Rights and ending homeless is an objective of the UN Habitat III Declaration, and of the Sustainable Development Goals that the Scottish Government has signed up for.
The STO are therefore disappointed to have received a mealy mouthed response to our letter regarding the inadequate housing provision afforded residents in Scotland with No Recourse to Public Funds (NRPF).
It is our concern that the Scottish Government are going to use this group as a politics of grievance issue which they should not do. In their letter they state:
“The Scottish Government has provided over £1.5m to third sector organisations to enable them to provide emergency hotel accommodation and support for people experiencing, or at risk of experiencing, homelessness, including people with No Recourse to Public Funds (NRPF).
The lack of proper support from the UK Government has meant that the Scottish Government as well as local authorities and the third sector are filling the gap. Without any additional funding to combat the impacts of this
harmful policy, £600,000 of the £1.5 million has been spent to date, to ensure people with NRPF are kept safe and secure in hotel accommodation across Glasgow and Edinburgh. We are also providing an additional £275,000 to support other basic needs of people subject to NRPF, including food provision.”
We say that isn’t good enough. Safe housing for everyone in Scotland should be a top priority. In terms of numbers we are talking about 140 people with no recourse to public funds being housed in hotels in Scotland at this time who at this stage are facing being put back on the streets unless the Scottish Government stands up to protect them through International laws, conventions and needs based budget protections.
Recently the European Court of Human Rights ruled against France for denying shelter and food to migrants on French Territory so there is precedent.
Although we broadly support the #everyonehome campaign and Scottish Ministers urging the UK Tory government to lift the NRPF restrictions and put an end to the hostile environment, we do not feel the Scottish Government are doing everything within their power or ‘Devolved competence’ to mitigate this harmful Tory policy.
We cannot put these poor people back on the streets under any circumstances. We all in Scotland must collectively provide homes for these people to live in as this is the decent thing to do, the right thing to do.
News Update: 25th June 2020
Statement from Sean Clerkin on Homeless situation in Glasgow during COVID-19 lockdown
News Update: 02 November 2019
STO members protested outside of Glasgow City chambers against £2.6m homelessness service cuts.
Reported by Scottish Unemployed Worker’s Network: https://scottishunemployedworkers.net/2019/11/11/no-to-homelessness-in-freedom-square/
and Glasgow Live here: https://www.glasgowlive.co.uk/news/glasgow-news/glasgow-city-council-homelessness-cuts-1701327
Further reporting from the Guardian newspaper here: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2019/oct/02/glasgow-council-facing-court-action-over-lack-of-housing-for-homeless-people
News Update: 06 September 2019
Central Station protesters interrupt housing conference to oppose cuts
As reported in the Evening Times, STO protestors gathered outside Central Station to oppose cuts to third sector organisations who provide alternative homeless accommodation.
Read the report here:
News Update: 21 January 2019
Hunger Strike at Scottish Parliament – 21 January 2019
A number of activists and concerned citizens are going on hunger strike at the
Scottish Parliament from the 21st of January calling on the Scottish Government
to spend £40 million over the next year to house the homeless and help the
homeless access wrap around services for addiction and mental health. The
Scottish Government\’s action plan has some good elements but is missing a vital
component of the required financial resources to stop the homeless dying this
winter. The Scottish Government is only committing around £330,000 for
the rough sleepers in Scotland this winter, this will not stop people dying on
Iain MacInnes (Scottish Tenants Organisation
Dr Sarah Glynn (Scottish Unemployed Workers Network)
Dr Anthony Coxx
Sean Clerkin (Action for Scotland)
Brian Quaill (Peace Activist)
James Devine (Formerly Homeless Person)
James Gardener (Homeless Activist)
Debbie MacKenzie (Homeless Activist)
Edinburgh News – https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/news/politics/activist-sean-clerkin-lead-hunger-strike-outside-scottish-parliament-1422786
Evening Times – https://www.glasgowtimes.co.uk/news/17369225.holyrood-hunger-strike-bid-to-get-more-cash-for-homelessness/
Public Petition PE1686: Homelessness Crisis in Scotland Correspondence – https://www.parliament.scot/S5_Local_Gov/Inquiries/20190114_PetitionerToCommittee.pdf
Original Advert for campaign published in the Glasgow Herald: ‘Hunger Strike at Scottish Parliament – 21 January 2019’.
News Update: 02 January 2017
Alasdair Codona has decided to end his hunger strike in his continuing campaign against the treatment of poor and homeless people in Scotland.
Following a visit to Alisdair Cadona, by three Scottish Government
Ministers at his hospital bed, he has decided to end his hunger strike. Housing
workers need Culture Shock in how they interact with homeless people. Alasdair
Codona is campaigning for compassion and wants to change the Homeless Laws in
Scotland to make sure every homeless person who applies can get across the full
circumstances of their case without being dismissed out of hand.
This is not the end of the campaign but a ‘starter for ten’ in the
revitalising of a struggle to challenge the culture of denial and of belittling
of homeless people and to raise consciousness that the right to a decent home
for everyone should be a universal reality. You can read more about
Codona’s case in recent articles in the Daily Record, Scotsman and The National.
News Update 07 February 2017
As reported in the Morning Star and Herald newspapers, a number of activists groups including the Scottish Tenants Organisation are gearing up for a new fight against the latest incarnation of the Bedroom Tax. We joined a number of unaffiliated groups in Edinburgh on Tuesday the 7th February outside of the Scottish Conservatives office to demand the Tories dump their plans to slash housing benefit. The Local Housing Allowance cap otherwise known as
Bedroom Tax 2 is going to affect an estimated 241,000, leaving them struggling to pay rent.
We urge everyone who wants to see a brighter future in Scotland and the rest of the UK to get active in taking the fight back to the politicians pushing this swingeing tax through.
There is a petition live on the Scottish Government website calling on the Scottish
Parliament to bring forward a debate on the issue which we encourage readers to
sign. Petitions can only do so much however and we hope to see more actions like
Tuesday’s demo in future.
Sign the petition here: https://www.parliament.scot/GettingInvolved/Petitions/PE01638?