More than 100,000 children – more than the population of Stirling – are on a waiting list to get a social home, according to shocking new statistics.
New figures show there are over 300,000 people across Scotland currently on a waiting list for social housing – including at least 36,000 in Glasgow alone.
The figures, which have been obtained by the Scottish Conservatives, also reveal of these 327,585 people, 103,732 of them are children.
And the true figure could be even higher as one council – West Dunbartonshire – did not release its figures.
Charities are now saying this crisis has been caused by “decades of underinvestment” in housing across Scotland.
The Scottish Conservatives have also branded the figures a “disgrace” and a “source of shame” for the Scottish Government.
Glasgow is the local authority area with the most people on a social housing waiting list.
There are currently 36,186 people, including 10,616 children, on the waiting list at Wheatley Homes Glasgow, the biggest social housing provider in the city.
The next biggest waiting lists are in Edinburgh (23,564), North Lanarkshire (29,420), West Lothian (20,690) and Highland (18,098).
In fact, 14 out of the 31 local authorities who released their figures had more than 10,000 people waiting for social housing: Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire, Dumfries and Galloway, East Renfrewshire, Edinburgh, Falkirk, Fife, Glasgow, Highland, North Ayrshire, North Lanarkshire, Scottish Borders, South Lanarkshire, and West Lothian.
All of the figures are from March or April this year.
Shelter Scotland says this housing emergency has been caused by politicians across the political spectrum, and urgent action to address this is needed.
Alison Watson, the charity’s director, said: “There are 9,130 children in Scotland stuck in temporary accommodation, waiting for a permanent home, and that can have a devastating effect on their education as well as serious consequences for their long-term health.
“Social homes are simply not being built quickly enough for the thousands of people on waiting lists or for those in temporary accommodation.”
She added the only option the government has is to “address the mistakes of the past” and invest more money into social housing.
Similarly Matt Downie, chief executive of Crisis, says demand for social housing has “outstripped” supply for years.
He said: “We know that with bills rising, food prices skyrocketing and rents going up, more and more people are being pushed closer to homelessness.
“By delivering more social housing, alongside introducing new measures to prevent homelessness, by allowing people to get support earlier, we can build a Scotland where everyone has a safe, secure place to call home.”
These figures were obtained by freedom of information requests by the Scottish Conservatives.
The party’s housing spokesman Miles Briggs has blamed the large waiting lists on the SNP-Green government, saying they have cut millions from the housing budget.
The Lothian MSP said: “These figures are an absolute disgrace and wholly unacceptable.
“It should be a source of shame for SNP-Green ministers that over 100,000 Scottish children are current on social housing waiting lists and the figure will be even higher with one council not responding.
“They completely expose the SNP-Green government’s failure to build enough affordable homes for people and families across Scotland.”
He said there is “precious little” action on this “truly scandalous state of affairs”.
Mr Briggs added: “The wholly illogical decision to slash the housing budget has come back to haunt ministers who must use these figures as an urgent wake-up call and reverse those deeply damaging cuts immediately.”
The Conservatives’ call for the government to build more social housing is echoed by the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA).
Carolyn Lochhead, the association’s director of external affairs, said it is “completely unjust” to see so many children growing up without a proper home.
She said: “Research commissioned by the SFHA, Shelter and the Chartered Institute of Housing showed that to reduce housing need we must deliver 38,500 social homes by the end of this parliament – and we know that currently we’re not on track.
“In the face of spiralling inflation and construction costs, we need bold action from the government to be able to build the homes we need and ensure more children have the childhoods they deserve.”
The City of Edinburgh Council says they have to deal with “enormous pressure” in the capital when it comes to social housing, leading to over 23,500 people on their waiting lists, including 7,498 children.
A spokeswoman for the council said: “With only 14 per cent social housing, compared to a national average of 23 per cent, we have around 10 per cent more households in the private rented sector which is the most expensive private rented sector in Scotland.
“Edinburgh’s council housing stock was also negatively impacted by the ‘right to buy’ policy.”
They added: “We’re trying to help people to access and find alternative settled accommodation through our rent deposit scheme and our mid-market homes.
“Mainly though, we need more social housing so we are building more council homes and working with our housing association partners to build more homes for social and mid-market rent.”
North Lanarkshire Council, which currently has 10,419 children on its social housing waiting list, is Scotland’s largest local authority landlord.
A spokesman for the council said it has committed to building 5,000 new homes for rent by 2035 and is working to buy homes off private owners and landlords to help increase how many properties it has available for social rent.
They added: “While we face significant challenges, we will continue to explore all options available to us to increase the availability of housing for our communities.”
The Scottish Government has been approached for comment.