The rise has been driven by successful efforts to cut rough sleeping but homelessness charity Crisis says more must be done to get vulnerable Scots into permanent homes.
Homelessness could be brought to an end within ten years if the right measures are enacted by the Governments of Scotland, as well as England and Wales, according to a new report published by Crisis today entitled Everybody In: How to end homelessness in Great Britain.
Scotland has cut rough sleeping by over 70 per cent since 2003, after passing a law to gradually end the “priority need” system which previously restricted which homeless people were entitled to accommodation. But there are still currently 16,800 people across Scotland experiencing the worst forms of homelessness. This includes people living on the streets, in cars and tents, in shelters, or in unsuitable temporary accommodation.
Crisis is now calling for 5,500 social homes to be built in Scotland each year for the next 15 years and 105,000 UK-wide. It also wants to see a national roll-out of over 1,300 Housing First placements in Scotland to help those in the most chronic need with a “wraparound” care package.
Jon Sparkes, chief executive of Crisis, said: “For the first time ever, we have a comprehensive plan that shows exactly how we can address the root causes of homelessness and make it a thing of the past. Other parts of the world are taking huge strides towards ending it, and Britain can too.
“We must not become a society that simply accepts homelessness as ‘a sad fact of life’, because the good news is that we know it doesn’t have to be this way.”
Over the next decade, the policies set out would cost £615 million and deliver benefits worth £1.7 billion in Scotland, according to accounting giant Pwc. This means that for every £1 invested, an estimated benefit of £2.70 would be generated.
The charity is now calling on the Scottish Government, along with those south of the border, to produce an action plan that, once delivered, will get everybody who is homeless into a safe and stable home within ten years.
The plan comprises new research produced in collaboration with experts including the Chartered Institute of Housing, National Housing Federation and Edinburgh’s Heriot-Watt University.