43,000 Scots Became Homeless Last Year

22 November 2018, 07:37


People lost their home every 18 minutes in Scotland last year, according to a new study.

Figures published by Shelter Scotland indicate 43,000 people, including children, became homeless in 2017.

The analysis follows a report by Shelter Scotland that homelessness applications rose in the country for the first time in nine years last year.

Across the UK, the number of people living on the streets rose for the third straight year, with 320,000 estimated to be homeless.

In its annual landmark review on homelessness, the housing charity combined official rough-sleeping, temporary accommodation, social services figures and Scottish Government homelessness statistics.

However, they suggest the true figure of homelessness is likely to be even higher.

Alison Watson, deputy director of Shelter Scotland, said: "It's unforgivable that almost 320,000 people in Britain have been swept up by the housing crisis and now have no place to call home. Around 43,000 people were made homeless in Scotland last year.

"Due to a perfect storm of spiralling rents, very harsh welfare cuts and a major lack of social housing, record numbers of people are sleeping out on the streets, stuck in poor quality accommodation or in a cramped hostel room."

"This year we mark our 50th anniversary, but we aren't celebrating as our help is needed more than ever.

"Last year Shelter Scotland's advice services helped more than 21,000 people our highest ever. That's why we're asking the public to support us this winter, so that we can answer as many calls as possible and have trained advisers on hand when people need them most."

A Scottish Government spokesman said: "We are determined to bring an end to homelessness and rough sleeping in Scotland.

"While temporary accommodation provides an important safety net in emergency situations, we want the time anyone has to spend there to be as short as possible.

"That is why are working to transform the homelessness system so that people can secure a permanent home far more quickly.

"We have created a £50 million Ending Homelessness Together Fund over five years to support this work.

"We have also allocated £23.5 million for rapid rehousing to support people into settled accommodation and help them with their longer term needs."

Scottish Labour's spokeswoman for Equalities, Housing and Social Security Pauline McNeill said: "The Scottish Parliament introduced world leading legislation on homelessness but under this government's watch homelessness applications and rough sleeping have increased.

"People are falling through the cracks because of brutal cuts to social security and local government. This cannot go on.

"The next Labour government will tackle the shame of homelessness head on, and rebuild our communities by ending austerity and delivering the investment our public services and welfare state need."

Scottish Liberal Democrat housing spokesman Caron Lindsay added: "The number of people rough-sleeping or living in temporary accommodation in Scotland is devastating.

"Thousands of families are squeezed into substandard spaces, a generation of young people are struggling to find a home they can afford and many spend night after night in the cold.

"Poor quality housing and life on the streets take a huge toll on people's mental and physical health.

"The Scottish Government urgently needs to build more homes for social rent, while the UK Government must end botched and cruel social security policies which are putting people at greater risk of homelessness."