Lib Dem candidate calls for an end to 'embarrassment' of homelessness
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Liberal Democrat candidate Molly Nolan has called on the next Scottish Government to end the “embarrassment” of homelessness after revealing that 12,185 people have declared themselves homeless across the Highlands and Islands over the past five years.
She warned that living on the streets can "take a huge toll" on mental and physical health, especially for young people.
Ms Nolan spoke out after an investigation by the Highland Liberal Democrats using Freedom of Information. Across the Highland Council area alone, 5538 people declared themselves homeless over the five years, 27 per cent of whom were aged 18 to 25 in the last year.
During the pandemic the Liberal Democrats have campaigned for a strategy to protect homeless people. This would include arranging for empty offices and hotel rooms to be requisitioned to ensure homeless and other vulnerable people could self-isolate.
Ms Nolan, the party's candidate for Caithness, Sutherland and Ross, said: “Living on the streets or shuttling between temporary accommodation can take a huge toll on people’s mental and physical health, particularly among young people.
“The work done to house people during the pandemic was remarkable. But why did it need a pandemic for the government to act?
“With Scotland’s wealth, and by putting the recovery first, we can do so much better to end the embarrassment of homelessness.
“The next Scottish Parliament must urgently grasp the opportunity to build more social housing, ensure councils have resources to fix poor housing and give advice services the support and resources they need.”