Homelessness projected to rise by 50 per cent over next 25 years

Written by Liam Kirkaldy on 9 August 2017 in News

Heriot-Watt University study projects number of people homeless in Scotland will rise to 18,100 in 2041

Image credit: PA 

Homelessness in Scotland is expected to rise by 50 per cent over the next 25 years, according to new research from Heriot-Watt University.

The research, commissioned by homelessness charity Crisis, found that although Scottish Government plans to build 35,000 homes for social rent will help slow down rising levels of homelessness, the number of people either sleeping rough, staying in hostels, living in unsuitable temporary accommodation or ‘sofa surfing’ will rise to 12,200 by 2021 before accelerating to 18,100 in 2041.

The study found that on any given night in 2016, 800 people slept rough, 5,200 households were ‘sofa surfing’, 2,100 households were living in unsuitable temporary accommodation, 2,300 households were living in hostels and 1,400 households were living in other circumstances, including squats, women’s refuges, winter night shelters, sleeping in tents, cars or public transport. 


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Crisis projected that, under current housing policy, the most acute forms of homelessness will continue to rise, with rough sleeping almost doubling the 2016 figure to a predicted number of 1,500 by 2041.

Across the UK, excluding Northern Ireland, the number of people rough sleeping is expected to rise from 9,100 last year to 40,100 by 2041.

The number of people either sleeping rough, staying in hostels, living in unsuitable temporary accommodation or ‘sofa surfing’ in Britain is projected to rise from 119,900 in 2016 to 392,400 by 2041.

Jon Sparkes, Chief Executive of Crisis, said: “This year Crisis marks its 50th anniversary, but that’s little cause for celebration. We still exist because homelessness still exists, and today’s report makes it only too clear that unless we take action as a society, the problem is only going to get worse with every year that passes. That means more people sleeping on our streets, in doorways or bus shelters, on the sofas of friends or family, or getting by in hostels and B&Bs. In order to tackle this, it’s crucial we first understand the scale of the problem.

“The Scottish Government has already committed to building 50,000 new affordable homes, with 35,000 of them available for social rent by 2021. This will contribute to a slow-down on the number of people affected by homelessness.

"They are also committed to eradicating child poverty with an ambitious Bill currently going through Parliament. Now is the time for action and we look forward to working with the Scottish Government to find solutions and bring these forecasts down.

“We can’t do this in isolation though, which is why we’re calling on the public to back our Everybody In campaign and help us build a movement for change. Together we can find the answers, and make sure those in power listen to them."

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