Many Scots '˜two pay packets from losing home'

About a third of Scots believe they or someone they know could experience homelessness, research has revealed.

The study from charity Street Soccer Scotland, which examined social attitudes to homelessness, showed 41 per cent of people believe if they lost their job they would struggle to pay their rent or mortgage within two months.

A quarter of people said either they or someone they know had already experienced homelessness.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

David Duke, the charity’s founder and chief executive, was homeless for three years. He said the “shocking” statistics showed homelessness could happen to anyone and that often even a small change in circumstances could send people into a spiral towards homelessness.

Research by Street Soccer Scotland shows anxiety about homelessness is growing.

“We need to end the stigma of homelessness; the us and them mentality,” Mr Duke said.

“As these figures show, it can happen to any of us.

“Homelessness does not discriminate. We often think of it as something that happens to other people – to certain people in society.

“Our research shows that far from being an isolated problem, the risk of homelessness is too high for too many people in Scotland. “It can take just one small change in circumstances. For me, it was bereavement when my dad died, but it can equally be illness or having your hours reduced at work that sends people into a spiral towards homelessness.

Research by Street Soccer Scotland shows anxiety about homelessness is growing.

“It doesn’t just apply to people on the fringes of society.

“We’re talking about people who have jobs and mortgages who are also at risk, as well as people renting their homes. People who think it could never happen to them.”

Scottish Government statistics showed 34,100 households made homelessness applications to local authorities across Scotland in 2016/17.

More than half (52 per cent) of the 1,083 people surveyed said they would not know what to do if they became homeless. Younger age groups were most likely to fear being made homeless, with 39 per cent of people aged 16 to 24 surveyed claiming they or an acquaintance could be at risk.

That fear fell marginally to 37 per cent for those aged 25 to 34 and to 36 per cent for 35 to 44-year-olds. Older people were significantly less likely to fear homelessness. Only a quarter of those aged 55 to 64 were concerned it could happen to them or someone they knew.