Child homelessness rises for second time in six months

Homeless people gather to keep warm and dry at the back of The Carlton Hotel, Jeffrey street. Picture: Ian Georgeson
Homeless people gather to keep warm and dry at the back of The Carlton Hotel, Jeffrey street. Picture: Ian Georgeson
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An increase of eight per cent in the number of children living in temporary accommodation in Scotland has been branded a “badge of shame” by a leading charity working with homeless people.

Newly published figures have revealed there were 4,923 children in temporary accommodation on 30 September 2015, an increase of 370 (eight per cent from the previous year.

Housing minister Margaret Burgess

Housing minister Margaret Burgess

The rise was identified in homelessness statistics published by the Scottish Government, which also showed that in September last year there were 2,884 households with children or with a household member pregnant in temporary accommodation, an increase of 158 (six per cent) when compared to the same date the year before.

Scotland has seen a two per cent increase in the households in temporary accommodation with the number standing at 10,567 in September last year, compared with 10,328 the year before..

The number of homeless households in temporary accommodation increased in 12 Local Authority areas with the largest increases seen in Glasgow City (+315 households) and Aberdeen city (+55 households).

Graeme Brown, Director of Shelter Scotland, said: “It is a badge of shame and extremely concerning that the number of homeless children in Scotland has risen for the second time in six months.

It is a badge of shame and extremely concerning that the number of homeless children in Scotland has risen for the second time in six months

Graeme Brown, Director of Shelter Scotland

“Only this week Shelter Scotland highlighted the plight of around 5,000 children who experienced over a million days of homelessness between them in 2014/15. This is simply not good enough in 21st Century Scotland.

“Our report, along with today’s damning statistics, is further evidence of Scotland’s housing crisis and why we need political commitment to a major house building programme to deliver 12,000 new affordable homes, to ensure that no child spends longer than necessary in temporary accommodation.”

READ MORE - Shelter: Why are people homeless in Scotland in 2015?

Overall, the number of people assessed as homeless has fallen by four per cent over the same period.

The figures show there were 8,800 homeless applications made between July and September 2015, and 7,400 cases were assessed as homeless or threatened with homelessness.

Housing Minister Margaret Burgess has, today, written to the local authorities where there has been a rise in the use of families in temporary accommodation.

Mrs Burgess said: “We are doing everything we can to make sure everyone has access to a warm and safe place to stay, and I welcome the decrease in the number of households being assessed as homeless. We have ensured the majority of temporary accommodation is good quality, well managed social housing which is of the same standard as permanent accommodation.

“However we want to understand the reason why there has been a rise in the use of temporary accommodation for households with children, and I have written to local authorities on this basis. We are committed to working together with local authorities and partners in the best interests of all households looking for permanent accommodation.

“We have taken action to address housing need by exceeding our housing target of building 30,000 affordable homes within the current parliamentary term, started a new generation of council house building and by stopping the right to buy are protecting our social housing stock. In addition we have committed to deliver 50,000 more affordable homes over the next five years, 35,000 of which will be for social rent.”