Green co-convener urges action on emergency homeless accommodation

Nicola Sturgeon was pressed to commit to a timetable for funding emergency accommodation to prevent people in Scotland becoming destitute and sleeping on the streets.

Scottish Green co-convener Patrick Harvie raised the issue at First Minister’s Questions, questioning progress in the five months since the Scottish Government accepted a recommendation from the Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Taskforce to fund emergency accommodation for those at immediate risk.

He gave an example of a man with epilepsy and mental health problems refused asylum in Glasgow who was discharged from an emergency hospital appointment to homeless accommodation which did not have room for him and is now sleeping on the streets.

Mr Harvie said: “We need an urgent timetable for the implementation of that recommendation on emergency accommodation provision, an integrated service that includes support services as well.

“We know that there isn’t a legal barrier to funding those services, even for those people that the UK Government has abandoned with the label ‘no recourse to public funds’.

“If the First Minister agrees that no-one should be made destitute in 21st-century Scotland, will she give a clear commitment that Scottish Government will take the action necessary to prevent this humanitarian crisis on our own doorstep?”

Ms Sturgeon replied: “Yes I will give that commitment… we are in the processing of the implementing all the recommendations of the Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Taskforce.

“Out of the ending homelessness fund we’ve allocated more than £23 million to get on with the recommendations.”

She said actions to tackle rough sleeping and homelessness would be taken not just for those seeking asylum but for all homeless people, adding she “abhors the way the UK Government system often exacerbates the trauma asylum seekers have experienced”.