'Crisis' sees more than 450 turned down from receiving temporary accommodation in Scotland

The overwhelming majority of the cases were in Edinburgh

More than 450 people have been turned down from receiving temporary accommodation in Scotland, figures show, with the overwhelming majority of them in Edinburgh.

The Scottish Conservatives called the statistics "shocking" and urged ministers to get a grip on Scotland's "homelessness crisis".

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A series of Freedom of Information (FOI) requests by the party showed 451 people were denied temporary accommodation in the 2022/23 financial year. Some 420 of these were in Edinburgh, while 27 were in Fife, two were in Glasgow and two were in Aberdeen.

The Scottish Conservatives have warned of a homelessness crisisThe Scottish Conservatives have warned of a homelessness crisis
The Scottish Conservatives have warned of a homelessness crisis

Tory MSP Miles Briggs, his party’s housing spokesman, said: “It is deeply alarming that over 450 people – the vast majority of them in Scotland’s capital – have been denied temporary accommodation. These shocking figures fully expose how the SNP-Green Government have failed to tackle the housing crisis across Scotland.

“It is appalling enough that a record number of children are currently living in temporary accommodation, but now hundreds of people can’t even rely on that option, due to the failures of the SNP-Green Government. Ministers must get a grip on Scotland’s homelessness crisis, and they should start by declaring a housing emergency.”

Figures show there were 39,006 homelessness applications recorded in 2022/23 – an increase of 9 per cent compared to 2021/22. The number of open applications was 29,652, reaching the highest level recorded since 2002/03, when records began.

Edinburgh Council leader Cammy Day said the funding provided by the Scottish Government was “simply insufficient”. He said: “Tonight, nearly 5,000 households will sleep in temporary accommodation in Edinburgh. When I tell people this figure, they are stunned. As a city and as a country, we need to have this conversation and work together on solutions.

“An incredible amount of action by our council officers, by the third sector and others has been taking place to improve the experience of those who face losing their home and to help break the cycle of recurring homelessness. We are doing a good job of preventing homelessness and our collective efforts have seen rough sleeping reduce in Edinburgh.

“Yet, for all of this effort, the fact that we’ve been unable to accommodate people on multiple occasions is, in my opinion, simply unacceptable. It speaks volumes to the acute housing shortage we have in Edinburgh.

“Now is the time for the Scottish Government to take stock of these statistics and accept that the homelessness challenges we’re experiencing in the capital are part of the national housing crisis. The funding it provides to the council is simply insufficient now to pay for our statutory duties.”

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A Scottish Government spokesman said: “Every local authority in Scotland has the legal duty to provide accommodation for anyone facing homelessness and it is unacceptable that anyone is turned away when they need help.

“It can take time to identify a suitable property for a household and we know the pandemic and a limited stock of temporary accommodation has led to a backlog for local authorities. However, local authorities must comply with their duty to accommodate.

“We are acting on the recommendations of the expert Temporary Accommodation Task and Finish Group, including investing at least £60 million for councils and social landlords to acquire properties for use as affordable homes and asking social landlords to increase allocations to homeless households.”



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