Monday 10 October 2016

On World Homeless Day we call on the Scottish Government to ensure homeless people know their statutory rights

It's one of the best kept secret in Scotland: housing options interviews are routinely used to deny homeless people their statutory rights.
Housing options interviews are provided when a person presents to a local authority's homelessness service. This is usually the initial interview the applicant receives instead of being offered a full statutory homelessness assessment.
This creates a false sense of security in terms of homelessness statistics in Scotland and provides statistics that don't represent the true extent of homelessness in Scotland. It gives a false impression that homelessness is decreasing as a result of housing options.    
The reality is that the true extent of homelessness is hidden by the use of housing options, and homeless people are being diverted from being properly assessed as homeless under the Housing (Scotland) Act 1987.
Councils in Scotland are telling homeless people to stay where they are; in unsatisfactory and inadequate housing, sleeping on a friends couch, and staying in situations that put them at risk of harm or exploitation. In other words, to go away while other options are considered.
The point is that a homeless person and their family have the right to be re-housed now! That statutory right should be implemented, and also recorded as homelessness statistics. 
The Scottish Government must act now. Govan Law Centre have been warning about these practices for years.

We need a new drive to enforce peoples rights and end homelessness in Scotland.  We are calling for the use of ‘Housing Options Interviews’ to be clearly set out in the statutory Scottish Code of Guidance on Homelessness. For all people to be given a statement of their statutory rights in the same way that you are with consumer protection rights or public health warnings:

"You have a right to a full homeless assessment. This housing options interview does not effect your statutory rights to a homeless assessment. Your housing options interview will help you look at all your housing options and what other support we might be able to offer you. However, you can make a homeless application and have the right to be treated as an homeless person, with a full assessment, and offered at the very least temporary accommodation while we assess your claim for entitlement to permanent accommodation"


No comments:

Post a Comment