Stark rise in number of rough sleepers in Scotland

The number of people recorded as sleeping rough in Scotland has risen for the second consecutive year.

Scottish government figures have revealed the number of people sleeping rough before registering as homeless has increased by 10 per cent between 2015/16 and 2017/18.
 
The figures mean thousands of people are now sleeping rough during the three months before registering a homelessness application.
 
In Glasgow, where the council recently admitted to failing to set up a promised rough sleeping taskforce, recorded rough sleeping increased by 25 per cent in just one year.
 
And given not all rough sleepers will register with local authorities as homeless, the true figure of rough sleeping is likely to be far higher.  
 
Scottish Labour called for the First Minister to look at the CHAIN (Combined Homelessness and Information Network) initiative from London, which counts rough sleeping numbers and shares information among government agencies, local authorities and voluntary organisations to support rough sleepers.
 
Scottish Labour’s Housing spokesperson Pauline McNeill warned that “Rough sleeping has become a visible sign of a society failing people."
“Many more people are vulnerable to homelessness due to the Tory and SNP austerity and that must be prevented. " she said.
“It is unacceptable that anyone should be sleeping rough in 21st century Scotland – yet these figures show that is actually on the rise.
“Rather than burying their heads in the sand, SNP ministers should be taking action to tackle rough sleeping." McNeill said.
“The best place to start would be to start fully funding local authorities, which have faced more than £1.5billion of cuts since 2011."
According to Shelter Scotland, there are currently over 5,000 rough sleepers in Scotland, while the Scottish Government has pledged an £50  in extra funding to tackle the issue as part of a new homelessness strategy.

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