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It is truly shameful that, people continue to be forced to sleep rough in our streets, and I recently called for action to tackle the root causes of homelessness and rough sleeping.

The onset of the pandemic brought renewed focus on this issue as tackling rough sleeping became an important aspect of the public health response. In Scotland, rough sleeping is at a record low due to dedicated funding and support from the Scottish Government and the third sector. This progress shows what can be achieved with dedicated action to tackle the issue.

However, we can only make rough sleeping a thing of the past if we address the factors that cause people to become homeless. Sadly the UK Government is set to proceed with the planned £20 per week cut to Universal Credit, which will push low-income households into further hardship and debt, putting them at greater risk of homelessness.

The Scottish Government is using all the powers at its disposal to help those at risk of homelessness to sustain their tenancies by fully mitigating the bedroom tax and investing £82m in Discretionary Housing Payments in 2021/22, supporting tenants to stay in their homes, has pledged an additional £50m, as well as publishing its first ever long term national housing strategy, Housing to 2040, reinforcing its commitment to end rough sleeping and homelessness.

The pandemic meant a renewed focus on homelessness and rough sleeping and we must build on the progress made so that everyone has a place to call home.

Watch my speech below.


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