Progress made towards meeting the 2012 homelessness commitment in Scotland is to be examined in an inquiry by the Scottish Parliament’s Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee.
The commitment arises from The Homelessness (Scotland) Act 2003 which states that a priority/non-priority homeless distinction will end by 31 December 2012. This means local authorities will have a duty to secure settled accommodation for all those who are found to be unintentionally homeless from the start of 2013.
Convener of the Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee Maureen Watt MSP said: “As 2011 draws to a close, the aim of this exercise is to find out where local authorities stand in fulfilling their legislative obligation by the end of 2012.
"For some local authorities it is a bigger challenge than for others and we want to identify any barriers to achieving the goal as well as good practice which can be shared.
“We want to undertake this work so that we can measure the progress a year ahead of implementation. This will allow us to identify any action that can be taken to assist local authorities in meeting this important target on time.
“The Committee will also examine the impact of the 2012 commitment on people affected by homelessness.”
During the Committee’s three evidence gathering sessions representatives from the Scottish Government, local authorities and other organisations, such as Shelter Scotland, the Scottish Council for Single Homeless and the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations, who all have a role in achieving the target will present oral and written evidence.
In the assessing progress towards meeting the 2012 Homelessness commitment, the Committee is pursuing the following objectives:
- To identify the impact of the commitment on homeless people, local authorities and registered landlords
- To identify any persistent barriers to implementation
- To highlight best practice and opportunities for sharing it
- To determine effective homelessness prevention activity
- To identify action that could be taken to assist local authorities in meeting the target
- 7 & 14 December: Oral evidence sessions at the Scottish Parliament
- 8 February 2012: Scottish Government evidence session
The Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee’s key role is to scrutinise the Scottish Government’s policies and expenditure in relation to the following matters:
- Capital investment
- Digital infrastructure and broadband
- Fuel poverty and energy assistance
- Scottish Water
The Committee also conducts its own inquiries into any matters within its remit.