On this eve of the New Year, America should turn its attentions outward, for a change, towards that part of the United Kingdom known as Scotland. A land of rather good whiskey, weird men in skirts with a barely understandable brogue, and a habit of dancing around swords crisscrossed on the floor for the delight of tourists, is how this land is viewed by many in the United States.
As US politicians bicker and squabble over whether the rich should get wealthier as quickly as America’s poor lose their homes, they might spare a moment to learn how a government is supposed to govern. Scotland is an old country. America is still wet behind the ears, not yet ready to appreciate the benefits of learning from its elders. Perhaps now is a suitable time to begin the process.
From the BBC:
Legislation which aims to effectively end homelessness in Scotland has come into force.
The change entitles anyone finding themselves homeless through no fault of their own to settled accommodation.
Previously, only those classed as being in priority need – often families with children – had that right.
It meets Scotland’s historic 2012 homelessness commitment, first set 10 years ago by the Labour/Lib Dem government.
The change, passed unanimously last month under the Homelessness (Abolition of Priority Need Test) (Scotland) Order 2012, will give an estimated 3,000 more people a year the right to settled accommodation.
As the changes came into force, the deputy first minister also announced £300,000 would be spent over the next two years to help councils with their efforts to prevent homelessness.
Nicola Sturgeon [Deputy First Minister of Scotland] said: “This is a landmark day in the fight against homelessness.
“I know the heartache and trauma of homelessness from working closely with households faced with the prospect of losing the roof over their head.
“Meeting our 2012 commitment guarantees that those who lose their home from no fault of their own will be guaranteed settled accommodation.
“It is absolutely right to offer this guarantee in a time of crisis for people. It sends the signal that we are there to help, there is hope and that the state will do what it can.”
Official figures from February 2012 suggested the number of homeless people in Scotland is at its lowest for a decade.
Graeme Brown, director of the housing and homelessness charity ‘Shelter Scotland’, said: “Scotland can be very proud that it is making history by meeting the 2012 commitment – which is internationally regarded as the cutting edge of progressive homelessness reform.
“I congratulate all the local authorities who have made widespread changes in order to meet their new responsibilities to homeless people.”
This from, “The Hill”. It’s what US politicians are prepared to own up to:
[In America…] The odds for a person in the general population of experiencing homelessness in the course of a year are 1 in 194. For an individual living doubled up, [forced to live with relatives or friends] the odds are 1 in 12. For a released prisoner they are 1 in 13. For a young adult who has aged out of foster care, they are 1 in 11.”
In a year when more and more middle class American families have lost their homes to unscrupulous money men peddling worthless mortgages, many with no choice but live in their cars, isn’t the beginning of 2013 a good time for the corrupt, degenerate, narcissistic, politicians in Washington to turn towards Scotland for advice on how to properly govern a nation?
The ‘Fiscal Cliff’ is of little concern to the homeless. My guess is, as US politicians head home to their fancy houses and mansions to celebrate New Year’s Eve, the homeless are of little concern to them.
 “New rights for the homeless come into force” BBC, December 31st 2012
 “Homeless in America: 636,017; Homeless veterans: 67,495 The Hill, February 1st 2012