‘More Children Than Ever Are Homeless!’

Homeless sleeping on the street in London

THE homelessness charity Crisis said yesterday that what was already an emergency now risks becoming ‘a growing catastrophe’.

Chief executive Matt Downie said: ‘The Scottish government must push on with plans to prevent homelessness, so people can get help earlier and so public services can help stop people being forced from their homes.

‘The UK government must urgently invest in housing benefit, to avert more people being pushed into homelessness.’

More children than ever are homeless and living in temporary accommodation in Scotland, official figures show.

As of March this year, 9,595 youngsters were in the system – the highest since Scottish government records began in 2002.

In total, there were 29,652 open homelessness cases in March – a 15% rise on last year.

The Scottish government has described the situation as ‘unacceptable and concerning’.

Meanwhile, homelessness applications increased by 9% in 2022-23 while there was a 1% drop in cases being closed.

More households reported rough sleeping – 1,500 the night before (up 4%) and 2,438 (up 6%) in the three months before a homelessness application.

However, there were fewer households being made homeless from private rented accommodation following an emergency rent freeze as part of cost-of-living legislation introduced in October 2022.

The Scottish Federation of Housing Associations said the right to live in a safe, warm, affordable home was ‘just not the reality’.

Chief executive officer Sally Thomas said: ‘We are working with Scottish government to try to find ways of getting people into permanent accommodation more quickly.

‘However, fundamentally, this is a problem of supply. Scotland is not on track to deliver the target of 110,000 affordable homes by 2032, and urgent, significant action is needed.

‘Furthermore, we must remain focused on preventing homelessness through early intervention and prevention, working with and across all levels of government to make sure people have a home, as well as any specific support they might need to sustain it.’