Rights-Based Drug Policy
Rights-based drug policy has been increasing in popularity in recent years. In 2019, the U.N. Development Programme and the International Centre on Human Rights and Drug Policies collaborated with legal and scientific experts on a three-year project to develop guidelines for a rights-based drug policy approach. The International Guidelines on Human Rights and Drug Policy laid out recommendations that nations should follow regarding criminal justice, addiction treatment and pain relief accessibility in order to be in accordance with international humanitarian law. These recommendations include:

  • Ensuring access to all drug dependence treatment services and medications to anyone who needs them
  • Ensuring access to all harm reduction medication and services, such as those used to reduce the likelihood of overdose or HIV infection
  • Providing a reasonable standard of living to populations vulnerable to drug addiction
  • Repealing policies that strip drug offenders of their right to vote
  • Repealing laws that allow detainment solely on the basis of drug use

Worldwide, the most common approach to addressing drug use and trafficking relies on punishment. This is often in lieu of providing care to those affected by addiction and violence relating to the drug trade. According to the International Guidelines on Human Rights and Drug Policy, punishing drug users and withholding addiction treatment and harm reduction services are violations of human rights.

Some nations have been reforming their drug policy to address community needs and uphold humanitarian practices. Here are a few success stories.

Britain: Controlled Treatment for Opioid Dependence

In 2009, the British government undertook a four-year trial where doctors used injections of the opioid diamorphine, in addition to counseling, to stabilize addiction patients who had not responded to conventional treatments. After just six months of diamorphine injections, three-quarters of the trial participants stopped using street heroin. Crimes that the group committed dropped dramatically.

Today, many British citizens suffering from extreme opioid addiction are qualified to receive diamorphine through the National Health Service. From 2017-2018, 280 patients received this treatment to recover from addiction. However, conservative attitudes about the treatment threaten to cut services. Experts warn that patients who are no longer able to receive diamorphine may return to street heroin.

Scotland: Saving Lives with Naloxone

Naloxone, also known as Narcan, is a nasal spray that reverses the effects of an opioid overdose. Scotland began providing communities with take-home Naloxone kits in 2011 and issued 37,609 kits between 2011 and 2017.

The Scottish Ambulance Service recently rolled out a program to send Naloxone kits home with the friends and family of users after an overdose and train them how to administer the medication before an ambulance arrives to reduce the risk of death. Some Scotland police officers are beginning to carry Naloxone, though many are resistant to the practice.

Portugal: Humane Treatment for Users

In 2001, Portugal decriminalized drug use. Instead of jail time, drug users receive fines or have to complete service hours and/or addiction treatment. Drug trafficking remains a criminal offense.

To replace incarceration, Portugal increased treatment programs. As of 2008, three-quarters of those suffering from opioid addictions were on medication-assisted treatment. Since the policy shift, opioid deaths have fallen dramatically, as well as HIV and Hepatitis C infections. In addition, U.S. research studies indicate that spending money on treatment returns more than investing in traditional crime reduction methods. Portugal also implemented a needle exchange program to provide intravenous drug users with clean needles, which experts say returns at least six times its expenses in reducing costs associated with HIV.

Decriminalization did not lead to a rise in addiction and Portugal’s prison population is lower now than before decriminalization. Rights-based drug policy has flipped the script on addiction in Portugal. Criminalization exacerbates issues related to addiction, such as poverty. Rights-based drug policies are better at breaking the cycle of addiction and thus, alleviating poverty.

Rights-based drug policy means treating users with respect and providing communities with the resources they need to address the devastation drugs can cause. Adopting legislation in line with The International Guidelines on Human Rights and Drug Policy is a crucial step towards a scientific and rights-based approach to combating the worldwide drug crisis.

– Elise Brehob
Photo: Flickr

Victoria Heaney and Free Period Scotland MovementPeriod poverty is when women and girls do not have access to safe and clean period products and/or do not have the tools to manage their periods confidently. One of the many countries that face this issue is Scotland. Victoria Heaney created the Free Period Scotland movement to address period poverty in Scotland.

What Started Free Period Scotland?

The Free Period Scotland movement was created with the purpose to make period poverty a regularly discussed topic by Scotland’s government and continue menstruation conversations across the nation. In addition to placing pressure on Scotland’s officials, the research allowed women to admit the harsh reality of period poverty openly. The survey played a role in Scotland becoming a leader worldwide for period poverty protection. Scotland now provides free period products to all women.

Heaney’s interest came from the fact that this form of research is not common in Scotland. At the beginning of the study, she discussed on the podcast “The Snash with Jenny Cook” that she heard stories where women were using old socks as pads due to not being able to afford period products. When Heaney began researching the issue, no research was available on period poverty in Scotland.

Discovering a lack of research on period poverty was surprising because half of the world’s population menstruates. Heaney’s passion for this project led her to teach herself how to do a survey. Her survey focused on the quantity and quality of the experiences.

The Outcome

The Women for Independence committee conducted the research, which was led by Heaney. More than 1,000 women participated in the research survey. The quantitative findings revealed that nearly one in five participants claimed to go without period products because they could not afford them. The research also showed that one in 10 women had to choose between food and period products. In addition, 22% of participants said they were not able to change their period products regularly.

Not only did the survey produce shocking statistics, but it also offered a clearer picture of period poverty in Scotland. Heaney wished to use the research to better examine the stigma that surrounds menstruation for women of all ages. The study revealed that women over the age of 55 reported experiences that were alarmingly similar to teenagers. Free Period Scotland plays a significant role in the Scottish government’s legislative efforts and its bill granting free period products.

Looking Ahead

One of the many ways to help reduce period poverty is raising awareness of the issue, whether through research or social media campaigns. The more discussion about the negative stigmas surrounding menstruation, the more support will be gained in fighting against this global injustice. Victoria Heaney and the Free Period Scotland Movement have made tremendous leaps for women facing period poverty in Scotland. With support from advocacy groups, NGOs and the government, Scotland is taking one step closer to ending period poverty.

– Nyelah Mitchell
Photo: Flickr

 Poverty in Scotland
At only 19% or roughly 1 million people, Scotland has the second-lowest rate of poverty in the U.K. with only Northern Ireland beating it. What has kept poverty in Scotland lower than in other parts of the U.K.? Moreover, how can the rest of the U.K. learn from it?

Scotland Compared to the Rest of the UK

Scotland’s poverty rate has decreased from 23% in the 1980s to 18% in the mid to early 2000s. The entire United Kingdom sits at a 22% poverty rate and Wales has a 23% rate, while London has the highest rate of poverty of any area in the U.K. In comparison, Scotland has a poverty rate that is 3% lower. Poverty amongst youth is 6% lower in Scotland in comparison to the rest of the U.K., though poverty in Scotland has increased in youth by 3% in the past five years.

Scotland is lower in poverty in comparison to the rest of the U.K. but it is something that could change rather quickly. In February 2020, Scotland pushed for a new budget plan in order to increase the quality of life. The budget included £1.8 billion to help reduce emissions and push for better eco-friendly travel. The budget also set aside £15 billion for health care services, £117 million for mental health support and £180 million to close the attainment gap in schools.

Poverty Levels and Housing

The U.K. has a private renting sector, a larger sector of housing that is a primary source of housing for lower-income households. This housing is under private ownership and has seen a steady increase in cost since 2002. Private renting allows for the owners of said properties to continuously raise prices, putting a strain on lower-income households.

Scotland has not fallen into this trend, providing more social housing instead. Social housing is a form of housing that the government, state or nonprofits regulate to make sure rates stay at an affordable level and to help keep people off the streets.

Social housing allows lower-income households to maintain their homes, without fearing the strain of rent increases. It also allows people to keep themselves out of poverty while they receive support from the government.

In comparison to the rest of the U.K., more lower-income households in Scotland live in social housing than other parts of the U.K. Unfortunately, 45% of households in Scotland live in unfit dwellings, which could be due to household budget restraints.

Scotland has just passed a plan to ensure that all houses provide safe, warm and accessible places to live. The plan will ensure that all houses, whether rented or not, fit a national standard by 2040. This standard will ensure that regardless of how much the place costs, it will offer the same level of comfort and accessibility as other types of housing.

Unemployment and Wages in Scotland

Unemployment has steadily decreased across Scotland in the past 20 years. Additionally, Scotland has seen fewer layoffs while better work compensation has helped people stayed employed.

The U.K. increased wages by 20p in 2020 to £9.50 across the U.K. Scotland, in partnership with Real Living, is working with Scotland’s top employers, Brewdog, SSE and Standard Life Aberdeen to ensure living wages and benefits are in order and to keep those at risk out of poverty above the poverty line. The year 2020 saw an additional £240 million thanks to the partnership with Living Wages to ensure that those in need continue to get benefits as the COVID-19 outbreak continues.

Scotland, while not perfect, is a good example of ways that one’s government can help people get out and stay out of poverty. This kind of support from the government is not necessarily going to erase poverty, but it is pushing in the right direction.

– Claire Olmstead
Photo: Flickr

Period Products Bill in ScotlandOn November 24, 2020, a groundbreaking moment occurred that changed the struggle against period poverty. The Scottish Parliament passed the Period Products Bill in Scotland. This new bill guarantees free access to necessary hygienic period products to all who require them. Member of the Scottish Parliament, Monica Lennon, championed the fight against period poverty in Scotland and played a significant part in passing this revolutionary legislation.

Ending Period Poverty in Scotland

Even with the United Kingdom being one of the world’s wealthiest countries, period poverty remains a recurrent problem. In 2018, more than 20% of those polled in Scotland stated that they either had limited or no access to period products. Another 10% had to sacrifice food and other necessities to afford them. One in 10 experienced bacterial or fungal infections due to a lack of sanitary products. These rates have gone up to nearly one in four during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The new Period Products Bill in Scotland practically eliminates these problems. Accessibility to sanitary products must be made by the Scottish Government and organized countrywide. Public restrooms in educational institutions must contain a variety of period products without charge and it also allows oversight over local jurisdictions to ensure enforcement of the law.

Ending Menstruation Taboos

Menstruation has become a stigmatized topic worldwide, despite half the population experiencing it. The dangerous and outdated idea that periods are not appropriate for discussion and seriousness is damaging to those subjected to these taboos.

From South America to Africa, antiquated menstruation views have led to long-lasting negative consequences for those suffering from period poverty. In some cultures, menstruating girls and women must separate themselves from the rest of their community. In Nepal, so-called ‘menstruation huts‘ have dire consequences for women, with local organizations stating that many deaths associated with the practice go unreported.

The importance of ending taboos about menstruation is evident. The Period Products Bill in Scotland is a meaningful step to engage the rest of the world over these unsound presuppositions of menstruation and begin addressing period poverty globally.

Implementing Period Poverty Legislation Worldwide

There has already been worldwide attention brought to the neoteric Period Products Bill in Scotland. Lennon has been fielding communications from leaders and lawmakers around the world, ready to implement similar laws in their own countries. According to Lennon, “Scotland has provided a blueprint and shown how it can be done.”

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, logistical problems of supplying period products and economic suffering are causing governments to reevaluate the impact of period poverty. Countries with strong infrastructure can utilize Scotland’s approach to combat the worsening situation fast and effectively. The rest of the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia have already taken note of the problem and Scotland’s practical policy.

Ending Global Period Poverty

In underdeveloped countries, Scotland’s lead in the battle against period poverty can pave the way for education and destigmatizing menstruation. Poverty-fighting organizations can create similar international implementation plans in developing nations with little investment. Thanks to Scotland’s leadership, period poverty may soon become as antiquated as the stigmas surrounding it.

– Zachary Kunze
Photo: Flickr

Aberdeenshire Addresses Child Poverty Problems

On September 8, 2020, Aberdeenshire City Council addressed their growing child poverty problem and created a plan of action.

About Aberdeenshire

Aberdeenshire sits on the northeast coast of Scotland, with a population of 458,000.  Known for being the home of Marischal College, the city is located approximately 120 miles north of the nation’s capital, Edinburgh. Aberdeenshire is Europe’s oil capital, supplying most of its population with work in the oil and gas sectors. Aberdeenshire is also called Aberdeen, due to its city being part of the historic country. However, Aberdeen holds a different independent council area that is within Aberdeenshire’s council.

Child Poverty in Aberdeenshire

In February 2020, the Aberdeenshire council announced that approximately 8,000 children were living in poverty. This rising number directly correlates to the rising number of COVID-19 cases in the city and around the world. Aberdeenshire Council’s communities committee announced the citizens’ universal credit claims have risen to 75% since the pandemic started. This issue is not unfamiliar to this region, as more than 4 million children live in poverty in the United Kingdom alone.

Due to the closing of many businesses, there has also been a reduction in job availability and employment opportunities because of the limited number of vacant positions. Since the beginning of the pandemic, unemployment in Aberdeenshire has increased from 12.9% to 14%. The lack of job opportunities and the number of credit scores rising all contribute to Aberdeenshire’s citizens being unable to afford the increasingly higher costs of living.

Unaffordable living is a leading cause of child poverty. Instability in their housing often causes children to move schools and thus inhibit their continuous education. Children with unstable living conditions are far more likely not to finish their education and therefore have no way to escape poverty. In 2016, an Urban Wire Institution research project found that increasing household stability could reduce child poverty by almost 21%. The Aberdeenshire City Council addressed these numbers in a meeting on February 11th.

During the meeting, the Committee also mentioned that child poverty numbers were much higher in Aberdeenshire than in soundings cities. There are around 1,239 children living in poverty in Kincardine and Mearns since the virus, which is a vast difference from Aberdeenshire. Evidence suggests that these numbers are not getting any smaller. Scotland’s Poverty and Inequality Commission and Children’s Commissioner warned that child poverty rates could potentially “rocket.”

Action by the Council

The vast differences in child poverty encouraged councillors to take action to reduce the Aberdeenshire child poverty problem. On September 8, the council made the first concrete steps to create a child poverty reduction plan. In addition, the elected members decided to focus on the root cause of child poverty to address the problem on a more fundamental level. This plan creates and finds affordable living situations for Aberdeenshire citizens, therefore attempting to solve the issue of childhood instability and in turn promote an education that enables children to escape poverty. The city plans on combatting child poverty by helping its citizens make the most of their income and build people’s capabilities. While this could be difficult due to the ongoing pandemic, Aberdeenshire plans to boost employability and promote better choices for its residents.

Anne Stirling, Aberdeenshire Committee Chairwoman, said she’s happy to finally create programs that will “help people to maximize their income and get the support they require in terms of retraining.”

Mackenzie Reese
Photo: Flickr

Homeboy Industries“Homeboys has given me hope. It’s given me a better understanding of myself. Before, I just never gave myself a chance. So it’s encouraged me to change my life.” Latisha Valenzuela is one of the thousands of Angelenos and persons worldwide that Homeboy Industries impacted. Founded by Father Greg Boyle in 1988, Homeboy Industries has become the world’s most extensive program that works at least with those involved with gangs and jailed. Recently, an international jury chose the nonprofit organization as the 2020 recipient of the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation’s Humanitarian Prize, the world’s largest yearly humanitarian award.

Homeboy Industries is a thought leader and innovator in the area of criminal justice. Its model is fundamentally based on context: standing with the demonized and marginalized, healing them and investing in their futures; it involves a culture of compassion, tenderness and kinship.

Poverty

In its 2018 annual report are the words: “For most, a criminal record is a life sentence to poverty.” Gang violence is an outgrowth of something more profound: deprivation or trauma that an individual experiences. These cause pain and insecurity, which youth (between 12 and 25 years of age as outlined in the report) who are gang members do not or cannot properly deal with, and instead of causing themselves and others pain. Their actions as youth affect their lives as adults.

Not only are gangs and crime a product of poverty, but gangs and corruption contribute to it. It is a cycle. Gangs, crime and poverty must be dealt with together.

Whether or not the following relates to poverty, Director of the Scottish Violence Reduction Unit (SVRU) Niven Rennie said concerning the rise in gang and knife crimes that the “main driver” is poverty. Although there may not be a universal definition of “gang,” it is at least possible that there are potential connections between poverty and gang membership and gang violence:

1. Gangs usually exist in areas where there is a lack of opportunities and social exclusion.

2. Marginalized persons, such as those in poverty, are specifically targeted for recruitment, violence and pressure (p 4); however, gang activities even affect ordinary persons.

3. Gangs exist in developed countries, such as Scotland (at least the U.K., which comprises Scotland) and the U.S., and developing countries, including those in Latin America.

Actions, Not Only Words

Not only are compassion, tenderness and kinship important, so too is providing for those involved in gangs or jailed or are susceptible to becoming involved. Homeboy Industries offers tattoo removal, education, substance abuse support, legal assistance and solar panel training. It also has its very own social enterprises, job training for homeboys and homegirls. Businesses include a bakery and electronics recycling.

Additionally, the nonprofit has a global network, which launched in 2014. Over 400 organizations have emulated or engaged with it to whatever degree. Representatives from countries such as Denmark and Scotland, Nicaragua and El Salvador are part of the network.

In an interview with Devex, a social enterprise connected to the global development community, Boyle is attributed as saying, “Everything is about something else. … The trick in any country is to find the ‘something else.’… Try to find a lack of connection and kinship.” In Scotland, Boyle worked with “the VRU” (as seen in a BBC article) in Glasgow. Braveheart Industries is a charity based on the manifestation of his work in Los Angeles; it has a social enterprise located in Glasgow that employs people with convictions.

El Salvador has seen reductions in levels of poverty and advances in human development. Nevertheless, gangs are active in the country. After he visited Homeboys Industries, Jaime Zablah founded La Factoría Ciudadana in the country. As examples, it offers therapy and tattoo removal.

Hope

International Youth Day was on August 12. Not all youth become gang members; some are “fundamental drivers and critical partners” concerning work concerning conflict-prevention and peace-building. Poverty can hinder the potential of young people: the World Programme of Action for Youth recognizes that basic needs such as education and sustainable livelihoods are crucial for youth social development.

Homeboy Industries has been there for the youth, launching the Summer Youth Program in 2018 as part of its “expansive approach to putting an end to the cycle of incarceration and poverty.” As youth need compassion, tenderness, and kinship, so does the world need youth with great aspirations, such as helping those involved in gangs or jailed.

– Kylar Cade
Photo: Flickr

Child Poverty in Scotland
Scotland is currently struggling with high levels of child poverty affecting about 25 percent of children. Living in poverty has been shown to have a negative impact on a child’s school performance and overall health, making them more likely to remain in poverty throughout their life. Unfortunately, the rates of child poverty in Scotland have been increasing in recent years, so in 2017, the government was prompted to take action.

The Impact of Poverty on Children

When a child grows up in poverty, they are predisposed to both health and education issues. By the time a child in poverty reaches five years old, they are already underperforming in comparison to their peers from higher income homes, with an education discrepancy of 10 months in problem-solving and 13 months in vocabulary. Similarly, by the age of three, children in poverty are more than twice as likely to develop a chronic illness. In addition to problems with physical health, children in poverty are prone to mental health issues as well.

These risks not only have a significant impact on an individual’s future and overall wellbeing but also create a financial burden on the community. Child poverty is estimated to cost The United Kingdom £29 billion every year, according to a 2013 study. This is a combination of costs to the health care system, the economy and policy efforts. Reducing the rate of child poverty in Scotland would not just improve the lives of the individuals afflicted but also the state of the country’s economy as a whole.

According to The Joseph Rowntree Foundation’s report “Poverty in Scotland 2018,” around 230,000 kids suffer from poverty. This is caused by a number of factors, including unemployment and underemployment, lack of benefits, high housing prices, inability to afford childcare and single-parent households. Most children who suffer from child poverty in Scotland have parents that are unable to work full time because they can’t afford childcare or one of them is disabled. Additionally, 36 percent of impoverished children live in a single parent home. While rates of child poverty in Scotland had been decreasing since the 1990’s, as of 2011 they have been on the rise again.

The Child Poverty (Scotland) Bill

The government has taken steps towards solving the issue of child poverty in Scotland by unanimously passing The Child Poverty (Scotland) Bill in 2017. This legislation requires that, by 2030, the number of children living in relative poverty be reduced from one in four to one in 10. The number of children living in absolute poverty must also be decreased from 21 percent to 5 percent, along with a number of other targets. The Child Poverty (Scotland) Bill is a meaningful first step towards eradicating child poverty from the region and demonstrates the government’s dedication to the issue.

There are a number of effective solutions to address child poverty in Scotland. Making changes to the benefits system, ensuring living wages and increasing preschool education and childcare should be prioritized. Also, the existing barrier to education needs to be removed through programs offering school clothing grants, transportation, free lunches and financial assistance for class trips.

The high rates of child poverty in Scotland are a serious concern for the country, but there is hope for improvement. The government must implement practical solutions to reach its targets while charity organizations continue to offer aid to those in need.

– Georgia Orenstein

 

 

Period Poverty in Scotland
Scotland is a high-income country and is among the richest countries in the world. However, poverty has been increasing over the past several years. It has especially impacted women leading to period poverty in Scotland.

What is Period Poverty?

Period poverty is when women do not have access to sanitary products that are essential for day-to-day use like tampons and pads. Women living in poverty often have to make a choice between other necessities and sanitary products. Because of this, despite being a high-income country, many women in Scotland are still unable to afford basic sanitary products.

Period Poverty Surveys

In 2017, the Free Period Scotland campaign launched a survey with twelve questions in order to determine the scope of period poverty in Scotland. Though the pool was limited, of 747 respondents, 8 percent stated that they had limited access to sanitary supplies, 20 percent said that periods had impacted their day-to-day life such as affecting their education as well as other activities, and 4 percent said that they did not have access to any sanitary products.

Other surveys have indicated that the problem may be even greater. According to a survey of more than 2,000 people, conducted by the organization called Young Scot, that included people in varying levels of educational institutions, one in four women have difficulty accessing necessary sanitary products. Of those who participated in the survey, 70 percent have had to use alternatives such as toilet paper in place of sanitary products.

Initiatives to End Period Poverty in Scotland

Last year, the Scottish government established a six-month trial program in the city of Aberdeen. This program was run by the Community Food Initiatives North East. The goal of this trial was to find improved methods of providing free sanitary products to people living on lower incomes. After the pilot had begun, it was expanded to include several educational institutions in order to provide access for students, as well. Through this trial, more than 1,000 women were given free sanitary products.

Due to the success of the trial in Aberdeen, the government is funding an initiative to fight period poverty in Scotland and provide sanitary supplies to women from lower-income households. More than 500,000 euros will be given to the charity FareShare in the hopes of helping essential sanitary products become available to more than 18,000 people. Scotland will be the first country to create a program that gives free sanitary products to women.

The government’s new initiative will not only fight period poverty in Scotland but also represents the first step toward eliminating the stigma and difficulties that accompany menstruation. By providing access to sanitary products to those living on low income and to students in educational institutions, Scotland is changing the lives of thousands of women.

In the coming years, this new program may provide an example to other countries and other programs that will help women of all socioeconomic levels across the world.

– Lindabeth Doby
Photo: Flickr

Scotland’s Eco-Village for the Homeless
Eco-villages are defined as communities whose members seek to live lives that have as little impact on the environment as possible. These communities have been popping up all over the globe for years now, their inhabitants dedicated to being more socially, economically and ecologically sustainable. Eco-village for the homeless can provide a safe environment for people to get back on their feet before looking for permanent housing.

There can be many environmental, economic, social and health benefits to living in an eco-village. The communities encourage local economies in rural areas and often farm unprocessed and pesticide-free produce. The villages reduce the release of CO2 and provide a natural habitat for indigenous ecosystems. The communities also promote less noise pollution and better air quality.

In Scotland, a local charity organization plans to implement an eco-village with the purpose of providing safe temporary housing for the homeless.

In 2015, there were over 28,000 homeless living in Scotland. Social Bite recognized the seriousness of Scotland’s homeless population back in 2012 and has been tackling social issues through business ever since.

The organization currently runs 5 different cafes throughout Scotland. The cafes run a “suspended” coffee and food program, where customers can pay for an extra beverage or lunch for a homeless person to enjoy later.

The non-profit Social Bite is also conscious about employing vulnerable members of the community. A quarter of their employees were once homeless and 100 percent of the business’s profits go toward solving social problems.

Social Bite’s most recent endeavor involves the construction of an eco-village for the homeless in Edinburgh. The village is set to be made up of 10 homes that are capable of housing up to 20 people. The city council spends about $21,000 annually to provide housing and food for one person at a shelter, so the village is expected to save the government massive amounts of money.

Aside from being fiscally beneficial and sustainable, the eco-village community will also provide basic social resources. This includes job training, therapy, financial advice, literacy training and basic education. The goal of the services is to help the tenants directly as they work to move onto more permanent accommodations.

Construction on the village is set to begin in early 2017 and is expected to be up and running by the upcoming summer. Aside from being ecologically friendly, the buildings will also be completely transportable and mobile if necessary.

Social Bite and their dedication to humanitarian work have attracted the attention of celebrities such as George Clooney and Leonardo DiCaprio. DiCaprio visited one of Social Bite’s locations this November to help raise awareness for the organization’s cause.

Overall, the construction of Scotland’s first eco-village for the homeless will provide a frugal and effective way of combating social stigma and homelessness in the country.

Peyton Jacobsen

Photo: Flickr

End child povertyThe Scottish government proposed a new bill that takes a great step to end child poverty. The bill in question is designed to halve child poverty in Scotland by 2030. On August 8, 2016, Equalities Secretary Angela Constance launched an eight-week consultation on the plans.

About one in five children in Scotland live in poverty. The bill proposes protecting families’ income by law, aiming for less than 10 percent of children to live in relative poverty, less than 5 percent in absolute poverty and less than 5 percent in persistent poverty or a low income, materially deprived home.

Relative poverty is where a family earns less than 60 percent of the national average, while absolute poverty is where earnings are less than 60 percent of the average wage in 1999. Persistent poverty is where families have been living in poverty for three out of a four-year period.

Targets outlined in the bill include ensuring more people are paid the living wage; families have access to more free or cheaper childcare and free school meals. Additionally, the government is offering better-paid jobs and greater security to parents. The measures are in place to boost family income in Scotland over the next 14 years.

The Child Poverty Action Group (Cpag), which is a group of campaigners against child poverty, welcomed the consultation into how to reduce child poverty in Scotland.

John Dickie, director of Cpag, said the bill is a “great opportunity” to help tackle the problem, but he also warned that political leaders must take responsibility as well. Dickie called for the new laws to include duties for political leaders to annually report progress. Cpag stated that the bill is not a solution to child poverty, but it would help keep child poverty in Scotland a top priority.

Constance stated that to end child poverty isn’t only a job for the government, but also the entire population of Scotland. She proposed that the government would work together with local governments, businesses and people living in poverty to help tackle child poverty in Scotland. Constance is confident that the jobs being created in Scotland will provide a real route out of poverty.

Jacqueline Venuti

Photo: The Daily Record