Ministers are being urged to tackle the “shameful” increase in the number of people with mental health problems who are either homeless of face losing their home.
Labour demanded action from the Scottish Government after the total number of households in this situation almost doubled over seven years, going from 3,899 in 2013-14 to 7,397 in 2020-21
While last year’s total is down from the 8,404 households where someone with mental health problems was either made homeless or was threatened with homelessness recorded in 2019-20, the latest official Scottish Government data showed that more than a quarter (27%) of homeless households contained someone with mental health problems, compared with 13% in 2013-14.
Labour’s housing spokesman Mark Griffin hit out and said: “These shameful figures are a damning indictment of both mental health and homelessness policy over recent years.”.
Mr Griffin added: “Some of the most vulnerable people in Scotland are being systematically failed by inadequate mental health support, and here we see the most extreme consequences of that.”
The Labour MSP called for improved understanding of mental health issues to be “embedded into every part of government, including housing”.
He added that with the evictions ban introduced by the Scottish Government during the coronavirus pandemic being “effectively scrapped” it was now “more important than ever that the Scottish Government has a plan to prevent homelessness and get people the support they need”.
A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “We are absolutely committed to ending homelessness in Scotland – and that includes significant investment in addressing its underlying causes.
“Working with partners, we have developed a Housing First approach, which ensures stable, settled accommodation with intensive support for those who may have more complex needs.
“We have pledged an extra £50 million to end homelessness and rough sleeping. Our updated Ending Homelessness Together action plan, published with Cosla in October 2020, renews our commitment.
“Of course, increasing housing supply also plays a key role in reducing homelessness. This month we revealed that 102,055 affordable homes have been delivered since April 2007, with 70,866 of these for social rent.
“We plan to deliver another 100,000 affordable homes by 2032, with at least 70% for social rent, as part of our Housing To 2040 strategy.
“We have also published our mental health transition and recovery plan, backed with £120 million, which sets out the wider steps we are taking for mental wellbeing services in response to the pandemic.”