This item was published during the term of a previous administration that ended in April 2007
Comment on homelessness statistics
Two statistical publications published today show increase in number of people applying to local authorities for assistance under homeless person legislation.
Commenting on the statistics, Social Justice Minister Margaret Curran said:
"Everyone recognises that homelessness is a complex issue that cannot be resolved overnight. These statistics are a very useful measure, however, in helping us track the effectiveness of our policies, particularly in light of the changes introduced by the Housing Act 2001.
"As we fully expected they show an increase in the number of people who have applied to local authorities for assistance. The reason for this is quite straightforward - changes in the law mean that far more people are now eligible for help.
"It is worth noting that the biggest increase has been in the number of single people now being assessed as a priority.
"In Glasgow since January 2002, the city council has assessed 72 per of cent of single homeless applicants as a priority, compared to 25 per cent in 1999. This shows a commitment to provide better solutions for these people than has been the case in the past.
"Tackling homelessness - and its causes - is one of the biggest challenges facing Scotland, but we will not shirk from the challenge.
"The recent Scottish Budget set aside £127 million over three years to take forward the 59 recommendations of the Homelessness Task Force.
And the Homelessness (Scotland) Bill which is nearing its third reading in the Scottish Parliament will give us an even stronger framework for driving through our policies."
The Housing Act (Scotland) 2001 was enacted in July 2001. Following that local authorities had to carry out an assessment of homelessness in their area and develop a strategy to tackle it. Since September 2002, local authorities have had an increased duty to provide temporary accommodation, advice and assistance to everyone assessed as homeless.
The third reading of the Homelessness etc (Scotland) Bill is expected to take place at a parliamentary session in early March (exact date yet to be confirmed).