Long Walk to 2012 Homelessness Target

Issued on behalf of Shelter Scotland.

The stories of homeless people in Inverness will be heard today (Friday 28th July, 2006) as two sponsored walkers on a fact finding mission visit the Homeless Day Centre, Waterloo Place, Inverness.

Supported by Shelter, Barry Etheridge and James House, who have both been homeless, are walking from John O’Groats to Bournemouth via Inverness, Edinburgh and London.

Allan Sellar member of the Highland Homeless Trust will wish them well on their journey as he meets them today at Inverness Homeless Day Centre between 2-3pm. Barry and James will also meet other homeless people to talk to them about their experiences.

They will start from Inverness on Friday, July 28th; will be in Perth on Thursday, August 3rd, and Edinburgh on Saturday, August 5th.

The unique trip will be an opportunity to gather information about the situation of homeless people in Scotland and England. The findings from the report will be presented to Shelter (Street Homeless Project).

The walk comes at a time when Scotland is working towards ending homelessness. Scottish politicians have promised that everyone should have a home by 2012, as part of Scotland's forward thinking homelessness legislation.

Shelter Scotland recently launched its home is... campaign aimed at keeping the pressure on Scottish politicians to stick to their promise. The charity aims to collect 5,000 quotes to highlight to politicians just how important home is to the people of Scotland.

Archie Stoddart, director of Shelter Scotland, said: "As Scotland moves towards giving everyone the right to a home by 2012, everyone, including single men like Barry, and people sleeping rough, will have the right to a home. It's a long walk to 2012 - but with the right steps we can make it. We believe everyone has the right to a home.     

"The numbers of people sleeping rough on the streets in Scotland has fortunately gone down in recent years, thanks to the Rough Sleepers Initiative, with which Shelter was involved. But there are still people sleeping on the streets - and there are thousands of other people who are 'hidden' homeless. We look forward to reading Barry and James' unique report into the problems faced by homeless people in Scotland."

The walk will raise money for SPAAG  (Street Peoples Action and Awareness Group), which is a user led street homeless project set up by Barry in his home town of Bournemouth.

A website has been set up for those homeless people not on Barry and James' route to contribute their views, or for supporters to sponsor the walkers. Visit www.spaag.org.uk

To tell Shelter Scotland what home means to you and support the promise that everyone in Scotland has a home, visit: www.shelter.org.uk/homeis.


Notes to Editors:
For more details about the walk, or to organise photographs, telephone Barry on 0781 604 0317.

For more information about Shelter visit www.shelter.org.uk, or telephone the media office on 0131 473 7177 (connects to out of hours service).

28 Jul 2006