As the homeless are beaten up on the streets of England has Reporting Scotland ignored Heriot Watt research on their own website to rely on ‘some people’ telling ‘the BBC’ they feel ‘safer on the streets?’

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This morning, we heard:

‘Some people experiencing homelessness have told the BBC they feel safer on the streets than in housing provided by local authorities and housing associations.’

Some people eh? I checked the extended report on the BBC Scotland website. How often does the word ‘safer’ appear? Zero. Is there any mention of the idea of feeling safer on the streets? Not one. Is there some other research by the BBC saying this? Why ‘the BBC’ and not ‘BBC Scotland?’ Are they reporting the experience of some English people? All I could find in recent BBC reporting was this:

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So, no sign of the homeless in England feeling safer on the streets.

What about the BBC Scotland website report?

It’s based on Heriot Watt study so might that be more reliable than ‘some people?’ Strangely headlined: ‘Are more people sleeping rough in Scotland?’, it’s full of fairly positive news about the situation here compared to that in England so not too convenient for the Reporting Scotland Down team and explaining why even the web-reporter had to invent a headline. In the report we read:

Has the number of rough sleepers risen?

The Homeless Monitor Scotland 2019 report said rough sleeping appeared to have been relatively stable over the past three years.

It said these numbers ranged between 650 and 800 and had fluctuated to only a moderate degree since 2011.

This analysis also indicates that levels of rough sleeping in Scotland may have fallen until around 2013 and remained relatively stable since then.

Prof Bramley said there was anecdotal evidence that it may have got worse in the past year, but that there was no official confirmation of this.

According to the official government stats, the numbers have reduced significantly since 2002/03.

We also see from the researchers:

How do you count rough sleepers?

One method is “point-in-time” street count. In both England and Wales, some form of this is used to provide official statistics on the number of people who are street homeless. However, according to Prof Bramley, this method is always likely to provide an underestimate because of the inherently chaotic and hidden nature of rough sleeping.

The Scottish government does not conduct a regular “headcount”. Instead, it uses data from the form which is filled in by people making a homeless application to their local authority. The form asks whether a member of the applying household slept rough during the previous three months.

Prof Bramley says that because Scotland has an “inclusive” approach to tackling homelessness as many as 70% are in contact with their local authority at some point. A good starting point.

Yes, yes but some people have told us!

4 thoughts on “As the homeless are beaten up on the streets of England has Reporting Scotland ignored Heriot Watt research on their own website to rely on ‘some people’ telling ‘the BBC’ they feel ‘safer on the streets?’

  1. Didn’t notice beeb Scotland finding any space for yesterday’s report of Scottish housing starts and completions during year 2019-2019?

    The info was carried on Beeb Scotland probably judged was too encouraging to cover. Link and snippets below: (Note also the continuing work to bring long-term empty dwellings back into use – This is clearly a mighty difficult issue to solve – but it really wasn’t being much tackled before the SNP Scottish Govt took it on – and some excellent progress has been made since 2012. Worth remembering that each of those empty dwellings brought back into use by the policy of the SNP Scottish Govt represents a home for real people and real families. It’s a long, slow grind – but our votes do matter (as proven last week) – and we are beginning to build our better Scotland. Just imagine what we will do with the tools of Independence.

    A total of 21,403 homes were completed in 2019, a rise of 18% or 3,210 more homes than in 2018.

    The increase in completed homes was seen in both the private sector and housing associations.

    Work to build 23,700 new homes was also started in year to June 2019, up 22% on 2018 figures, while nearly 11,000 affordable homes were started in the period to September 2019.

    There were 5,342 new build homes completed between April and June 2019; a 2% increase (111 homes) on the same quarter in 2018. This brings the total for the year to end June 2019 to 21,403, up 18% (3,210 homes) compared to the 18,193 completed in the previous year.

    There were 5,620 new build homes started between April and June 2019, 18% more (857 homes) than the same quarter in 2018. This brings the total for the year to end June 2019 to 23,700 which is up 22% (4,340 homes) compared to the 19,360 homes started in the previous year, and is the highest annual starts figure since 2008.

    Meanwhile, the number of long-term empty properties has also increased slightly for the third consecutive year by two per cent, or 1,260 homes. However, the figure as at September 2019 is 776 homes lower than the 66,053 recorded in September 2012.

    Addressing the increase, Shaheena Din, national manager of the Scottish Empty Homes Partnership, which is funded by the Scottish Government and run by Shelter Scotland, said: “Most homes become empty due to natural life events such as people dying or moving into residential care.

    “The challenge for local authorities is to provide effective support to owners to bring them back into use so they don’t get stuck empty for years.

    “Last year the combined effort of empty homes officers in 20 local councils in Scotland and our own Empty Homes Advice Service brought back 1,128 homes.

    “The latest figures for the current year show that another record-breaking year is in sight. Anyone who needs advice on what to do with their own empty property or one in their neighbourhood can find out more information on our website”


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