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Messages of Support for Positive Action in Housing on the occasion of our Fifteenth AGM

Motion to the Scottish Parliament S3M-07137 - That the Parliament congratulates Positive Action in Housing on the occasion of its 15th anniversary; considers that it has provided many important and valuable services over the years in its work to improve the housing opportunities of ethnic minority communities and to support asylum seekers and refugees; acknowledges its campaigning role in relation to these and other race equality issues, and looks forward to many more years in which it can contribute to the creation of a fairer and more equal society.

- Proposed by Malcolm Chisholm (Edinburgh North and Leith), supported by: Jackie Baillie, Mary Mulligan, Jamie Hepburn, Aileen Campbell, Marlyn Glen, Shirley-Anne Somerville, Mr Frank McAveety, Linda Fabiani, Bob Doris, Gil Paterson, Trish Godman, Patrick Harvie, Angela Constance, Robin Harper

Yasmin Alibhai-Brown

Over fifteen gruelling years, Positive Action has provided both invaluable moral and practical support to some of the most disenfranchised and impoverished people on these islands. Despised by millions of Britons, denied human rights by official bodies and demonised by the media, these are impossibly hard times for those who seek refuge. Positive Action stands with and for them- also an impossibly hard thing in these times. I salute their commitment and courage.

- Yasmin Alibhai-Brown

Pete Murray. Photo © Jonathan Warren

I congratulate PAIH on its magnificent and pioneering work for the last fifteen years.  I would also like to take the opportunity to extend my personal thanks and the gratitude of the National Union of Journalists for the generous and valuable advice and support which PAIH has consistently provided to me and to union members in the city.  I am sure our solidarity will continue and I wish all of you the very best.

- Pete Murray, President, National Union of Journalists

Positive Action in Housing has become one of the most important voices in civil society in Scotland.  It has a great record of direct support for some of the most vulnerable people in the country.  It has also been a consistent voice in opposing some of the worst excesses of the state.  For a small voluntary organisation PAiH has an impact and reach hugely greater than its size. The need for the work now is as great as it has ever been, and with public spending cuts its work will become harder.  But Positive Action in Housing is critical.  The first 15 years have shown what a small organisation with real passion and commitment can do.  That will be put to the test even more - but it's a test that Positive Action in Housing will pass. Many thanks for all you've done and will continue to do.

- David Orr, Chief Executive, National Housing federation

Congratulations on your 15th AGM, you have rendered great unforgettable services to asylum seekers and refugees over these years...I wish you further success in your distinguished humanitarian work...

- Mohamed Al Shagra

Over 15 years PAIH has been in the forefront of working to help those who are facing major difficulties with discrimination, disadvantage and exclusion and who find it almost impossible to make any progress without such help. I, along with all other like minded people, are delighted to pay tribute to the selflessness, integrity, dedication and extraordinary activities by Positive Action in Housing. All good wishes and continued strength in the ongoing struggle for justice and equality outcomes.

- Sir Herman Ouseley OBE

The right to live in a comfortable and affordable home without fear of persecution shouldn’t be too much to ask, especially in a country as rich as ours. Unfortunately the reality is very different for many people. If you live in inadequate, unsafe accommodation it affects every part of your life. It can become impossible to work or access education when you are insecure about your own and your children’s safety or if you and your family’s health is being detrimentally affected. Positive Action in Housing makes a vital difference to people’s lives by enabling them to live safely in decent housing. By sorting out secure and affordable accommodation they allow people to transform other aspects of their lives. Positive Action in Housing provides an essential service and transforms lives.

- Louise Welsh, Writer

Every day people die unnecessarily all over the world, - they die of preventable diseases, they die because they lack the safeguards and essentials we don’t even consider in our daily lives, they die because of man-made and natural disasters. Still others don’t die – they simply suffer beyond what many of us could tolerate and continue to suffer because they have no choice. Their lives become a death in life. Many of us are aware of this and Scottish people are often generous and outspoken when it comes to charitable giving, campaigns to cancel foreign debt, or appeals after disasters like the recent Tsunami, or the flooding in Pakistan. The population of Great Britain and Scotland are consistently more tolerant, reasonable and humane than our governments.
Many of us are also aware that political oppression, intolerable hardship, war and civil unrest can drive human beings like ourselves to become refugees – people who have lost everything including their country of birth. This means that the same people who receive our compassion and understanding when we see them on television may arrive in the United Kingdom, in Scotland. They may – because they are unimaginably courageous and determined – manage to become refugees in our country. And in our country these same people will be imprisoned like criminals, harassed by a variety of authorities, kept in conditions of permanent uncertainty, stripped of their dignity, their ability to contribute to their new home and sometimes of their health and mental well-being. It seems strange that this is not a source of daily outrage in Scotland and that we can do no better than torment those who have nothing beyond their will to survive even our wilful neglect and abuse.
Positive Action in Housing is an organisation which works in Scotland and exists to support the most vulnerable amongst us – people constantly portrayed as a threat in the wider media, people hidden from our compassion – refugees and vulnerable ethnic minorities. PAIH helps the people of Scotland to express their humanity and to help refugees become new citizens and contributing Scots, rather than prisoners and victims of governmental insensitivity which amounts to torture. PAIH is part of a long Scottish tradition of humanitarian and open-hearted actions and something of which we can be proud.

- A L Kennedy, Writer

I would like to thank PAiH for their support at the Thursday drop-in at the Portal in Govan.  A caseworker attends every week to provide much needed specialised housing advice to often very vulnerable people.  This service is very much appreciated.

- Angela Gardiner, Network Coordinator, Govan and Craigton Integration Network

We would like to congratulate you on reaching your 15th birthday and wish you all the best luck for the next 15 years. Keep up the fine work!

- Carey Watson, Service Co-ordination Worker, Hamilton & Clydesdale Women’s Aid  

Could I pass on the best wishes of South Lanarkshire Branch of UNISON for all the work you have done in the past 15 years and in particular for your work in supporting asylum seekers and those left destitute by the uncaring and uncivilised policies of the government.

- Stephen Smellie, Secretary, South Lanarkshire UNISON

Congratulations on PAIH's 15th birthday. You continue to help some of the most vulnerable people in Scotland. Your work with those who are destitute is inspirational and very humbling.

- Emma Clifford, Glasgow Girl

Congratulations on 15 years of providing a truly valuable and much needed service to people who otherwise have no other resources to turn to. This is a charitable organisation in every sense of the term. May God accept and reward your great humanitarian efforts.

- Nayar Hussain

During the time I've worked in Glasgow covering social issues, Positive Action in Housing has been a constant presence and an extremely useful one.
Journalistically, it is invaluable – in alerting the media to stories of concern, and in terms of bringing people into the public eye who are usually powerless, sometimes with language barriers to telling their story. Often those people are resigned to their inability to be heard or treated fairly by society at large.
People come to PAIH because they trust the workers here, and know - because they hear through the grapevine – that here is an organisation which will take them seriously.
PAIH has brought a series of issues into the public eye which would otherwise have gone under the radar, and been a thorn in the side of those who would rather ignore such issues as the national shame of the detention of children of asylum seeking families or the despair of the thousands left destitute by the asylum system.
While the struggle for funds is obviously constant, I am always impressed with the way PAIH continues to campaign even as it seeks the backing for its work. Many better funded organisations are less outspoken.
I admire PAIH because Robina Qureshi is no respecter of institution or status where injustice needs to be tackled. It is worth thinking about how unusual that is – journalistically I encounter people all the time who would like to speak out, but don't – due to concern over offending funders or alienating those in political power.
I congratulate PAIH on its 15 years of sterling grassroots work and hope it will continue to fight the good fight for another 15 years and more.

- Stephen Naysmith, Society Editor, The Herald

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Last Updated ( Monday, 06 December 2010 )
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