Hundreds more Scots children are living in temporary accommodation, such as B&Bs, as homelessness starts to rise again in Scotland, official figures today show.
Homelessness had been falling steadily since the start of the decade, but there was a 2% hike in applications for assistance in the six months to September last year to 17,797, Scottish Government statistics today show.
There were 6,581 children in temporary accommodation at the end of September last year, an increase of 594 (10%) over the year. This is mainly council or social housing, although about 1% of households with youngsters were in B&Bs.
“Both governments have failed these families - the SNP by failing to build enough houses, the Tories by cruel cuts to social security which have left struggling families at greater risk of homelessness.
“It’s time for the SNP to get to grips with the housing crisis and do what the Lib Dems have been saying and increase the number of houses for social rent.”
The Scottish Government's Housing minister Kevin Stewart insisted that "significant actions" have been taken to tackle homelessness since last September, the period covered by the figures.
And he added: "In the last decade, and since the same period in 2007, homelessness applications have fallen by over 38%.
“I would hope, and expect, to see improvements as we renew and redouble our efforts. Our Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Action Group is leading the way in recommending the actions and legislative changes needed to tackle homelessness and the use of temporary accommodation, backed by £50 million to drive change.
“Since its first meeting in October, the group has worked at pace to develop actions that can have the most impact – starting with how we tackle rough sleeping this winter. That work now continues as we look to eradicate rough sleeping, end homelessness, and transform temporary accommodation.”
Labour’s housing spokesperson Pauline McNeill MSP said: “These are deeply troubling figures that are a mark of shame on the SNP.
“There are more than 6,500 children in temporary accommodation – an increase on last year. It is simply unacceptable that in the 21st century, so many children should be without a permanent home.
“It is deeply concerning that the long term downward trend in homelessness applications is slowing down and there has actually been an increase in applications this year.”