The Scottish parliament passed the Homelessness (Scotland) Bill,
committing itself to ending homelessness in Scotland within a
The new legislation will see everyone who is assessed as being
unintentionally homeless entitled to permanent accommodation by
The distinction between ‘priority’ and ‘non-priority’
applications for local authority assistance will be phased out, and
‘probationary’ tenancies will be provided for people judged to have
made themselves homeless intentionally.
Social justice minister Margaret Curran said: “The
implementation of this bill…will dramatically change the
response to homelessness in Scotland. The bill will put in place
the mechanisms to ensure that this change is managed, and sustained
for the benefit of Scotland’s most vulnerable people.”
Implementation of the bill will also lead to “modest changes” to
the repossession process to help prevent the causes of
homelessness, and a relaxing of the rules that require applicants
to demonstrate a connection to the local area in which they are
applying for assistance.
A successful amendment to the bill, introduced by Labour MSP for
Airdrie and Shotts Karen Whitefield, will also allow ministers to
regulate against the inappropriate use of bed and breakfast
accommodation for families with children.
The new legislation will implement five of the 59
recommendations made by the homelessness taskforce, which was set
up by the executive in 1999 to examine the problem of homelessness.
Implementation of the remaining recommendations – which were
all accepted by the executive – will be overseen by the new
national Homelessness Monitoring Group.
Scottish Council for Single Homeless director and taskforce
member Robert Aldridge said: “The new act aims to concentrate
resources on assisting homeless people to be housed successfully
rather than on investigating how they might be rationed out of the