Hundreds of families in temporary accommodation a 'national disgrace'

The number of Scottish families living in temporary accommodation for more than three years has been branded a "national disgrace”, with the Scottish Government admitting the figures are “concerning”.

Miles Briggs has called for more action to tackle homelessness.
Miles Briggs has called for more action to tackle homelessness.

The Scottish Conservatives said government statistics, revealed in a parliamentary response, showed hundreds of people looking for a permanent home, and called on the government to “eliminate” rough sleeping by building more social housing.

The figures show 275 families have been living in temporary accommodation for at least three years, 900 families have been waiting for at least two years for a permanent home, while an additional 5,000 have been waiting more than a year.

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All political parties committed to ending homelessness by 2026 during the Holyrood election, but homeless charity Crisis has called on the Scottish Government to commit to introducing new legislation in the first year of the parliament to prevent more people from losing their homes in the first place.

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Tory housing spokesman, Miles Briggs, said: “These figures are absolutely tragic and illustrate the social housing crisis that has occurred under the SNP government’s mismanagement.

“The SNP have shamelessly cut over £250m from the social housing budget and this alarming situation will only get worse until they sit up and take notice of the desperate situation they have created.”

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He added: “Despite having 14 years to act, the SNP have slammed the doors in the faces of thousands of families who are pleading for permanent accommodation – it’s a national disgrace.

“The Scottish Conservatives have pushed for assistance in obtaining private sector tenancies, a review of the law governing homelessness prevention, and the introduction of ambitious housebuilding targets.”

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The Scottish Parliament committed to ending rough sleeping by 2003 under the first Labour-Lib Dem coalition government, with a homelessness taskforce introduced, the investment of £63m, and the passing of the Housing (Scotland) Act 2001 and the Homelessness etc (Scotland) Act 2003.

However, Scottish Labour has said cuts to local government funding in recent years have resulted in councils being unable to meet homelessness targets.

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A Scottish Government spokesperson said the statistics were “concerning” and councils had been contacted in a bid to find out what support was required “to address this issue as a matter of urgency”.

He added: “Temporary accommodation can offer an important emergency safety net for anyone who finds themselves homeless, but we recognise that it should be a purely temporary measure, particularly for families with children.

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"Local authorities share our ambition to ensure stays in temporary accommodation are short-term, and we will be working with them to achieve this ambition.

"For some councils it can take a long time to acquire an appropriate property of the correct size and type for the household’s particular needs, with the required facilities. This can be exacerbated by limited turnover or stock availability, changes to a household’s circumstances, or instances where families need to access other services such as health, justice or social work.

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“We are investing £37.5m to support councils to prioritise settled accommodation for all as part of our vision for a Scotland where everyone has a warm, safe and affordable home.

"We also have a target of delivering 100,000 more affordable homes by 2032, with at least 70 per cent for social rent.”

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