Everyone Home Collective mounts pressure on MSPs to extend eviction protections
Organisations representing the Everyone Home Collective have written to MSPs asking them to back the extension of emergency legislation on evictions to April 2021.
With most tenants protected from eviction until October 10 under emergency legislation introduced in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, the group of organisations from across the third, academic, legal and advice sectors has called on the Scottish Parliament to do what it can to prevent an increase in homelessness this autumn.
The Collective wants Parliament to extend the provisions to April 2021 in the first instance, a key recommendation of the expert Homelessness & Rough Sleeping Action Group.
In the letter to MSPs, the Collective wrote: “We are concerned that if these temporary measures are lifted prematurely you may see an increase in homelessness in your constituency. With the pandemic far from being over and the lasting impact on unemployment unknown, this would be devastating for individuals and families and counter to good public health outcomes in the community.”
The letter follows similar calls from a group led by Shelter Scotland, which wrote to the Scottish Government last week, and comes amid reports of 350 evictions notices being served since lockdown began on March 23 - exacerbating fears of a “tidal wave of evictions” when courts re-open.
The letter adds: “Members across the Scottish Parliament can make sure that people with the most insecure housing and economic conditions do not shoulder the impact of this pandemic.
“Evicting people into rooflessness is to be avoided at any time, especially during a public health emergency. It is crucial that we all play our part to prevent homelessness from happening in the first place and that we ensure tenants and landlords have the support they need to resolve any issues. The majority of evictions are due to rent arrears, and we counter the position that people who can pay and don’t are a significant number.
“The Collective are much more likely to advise and support people with rent arrears who have significant money challenges, people with many other life stresses, and people who avoid official correspondence because of mounting pressures affecting their health and wellbeing. Each case has a unique, very real and very human story. These households need our help, especially now and in the aftermath of this pandemic.
“These are not ordinary circumstances. The emergency measures put in place quickly and with Parliament’s support have helped many people stay safe and well over the past few months. This is why we are urging you to support the extension of emergency legislation on evictions up to April 2021 in the first instance.”
The letter was signed by those below: