Pupils from two Vale primary schools took to the streets on Monday morning to highlights homelessness.

St Mary’s and St Martin’s youngsters invited locals to support a campaign by Shelter Scotland asking people to sign a petition calling on the Scottish Government to have the right to a home enshrined in law.

This is the latest in a series of campaign days which will see the housing and homelessness charity hitting towns and cities across Scotland in the coming weeks and months to drive home the message and gain public support for the petition.

The campaign was launched in August after research conducted by YouGov (1) for the charity found that 88 per cent of people surveyed agreed that everyone in Scotland should have a legal right to a safe, secure and affordable home and that 76 per cent support a new law being created in Scotland for adequate housing for everyone in the country. The research also found that 78 per cent support Shelter Scotland campaigning for stronger human rights in relation to housing.

Val McDermid, celebrated and best-selling Scottish crime writer, backed the launch of the campaign saying that ‘home is a place where you’re safe to be yourself. Where you can relax, where you can express yourself and where you don’t feel under threat. Too many people don’t have that privilege. That’s why I’m backing Shelter Scotland’s campaign’.

Graeme Brown, director of Shelter Scotland, said: “We bring our campaign to Alexandria to get as many people as possible to join us by signing our petition. We are delighted that pupils from St Mary’s and St Martin’s are joining us to spread our message.

“Too many people in West Dunbartonshire and Scotland don’t have access to the basic right of a decent and affordable home – which is simply wrong in the 21st century in one of the world’s wealthiest countries. In March this year, in West Dunbartonshire, there were 262 households in temporary accommodation including 95 children.

“Our research shows that the people of Scotland support changes to give everyone the right to a decent home.

“Through this campaign, we want the people of West Dunbartonshire and Scotland to know that a good home is their right – not a privilege – and it should be law. We also want them to feel a sense of injustice that so many people don’t have access to this basic need. By encouraging people to join our campaign we want them to feel hopeful that they can make a difference if we all work together. We want them to feel like they’re joining an important and powerful movement for building a better Scotland for everyone.”

“We want the right to a home and enshrining it in law to be at the forefront of everyone’s mind.

We want people to sign our petition so we can influence government policy.

“We look forward to meeting as many people as possible in Alexandria and asking them this simple question on strengthening people’s right to a home – Are you with us?”

Locally, the average time spent in temporary accommodation was around five months.

West Dunbartonshire latest housing/homelessness statistics (to 31 March 2019):

1,037 households applied as homeless last year

930 households assessed as homeless last year

262 households in temp as on 31 march

55 families in temporary accommodation

95 children in temporary accommodation - nearly double last year

Average time spent in temporary accommodation was 159 days, or around 5 months.