Scottish children living in temporary accommodation increased by 17 per cent in a year
Homelessness statistics also show homelessness assistance applications dropped by three per cent
Poverty: Picture credit - Holyrood
The number of Scottish children living in temporary accommodation increased by 17 per cent in a year, new figures reveal.
Homelessness statistics show local authorities received about 17,100 applications for homelessness assistance during April to September 2016, three per cent lower than in the same period in 2015.
However, the number of children in temporary accommodation increased by 826 (17 per cent), when comparing figures from 30 September 2016 with the same date in 2015.
Overall, there were 10,570 households in temporary accommodation as at 30 September 2016 – an increase of 97 households from 2015.
Over a quarter (3,174 households) included children or a pregnant woman - an increase of 355 households (13 per cent).
Housing Minister Kevin Stewart said: “We are doing everything we can to make sure everyone has access to a warm and safe place to stay, and I welcome the decrease in the number of homeless applications being made during this time.
“It is, however, our aim to stop people becoming homeless in the first place which is much better for our people and our communities, and of course our homelessness services.
“While there are many reasons for families staying in temporary accommodation, I am disappointed in the increase in the number of children in temporary accommodation. Although the majority of temporary accommodation is good quality, well managed social housing which is of the exact same standard as permanent accommodation, I am keen to see these numbers decrease and people to have a settled home.
“We are addressing the various reasons for families staying in temporary accommodation and I will continue to work together with local authorities and partners in the best interests of all households.”
As of 30 September 2016, 27 households were in unsuitable temporary accommodation, with 12 breaches of The Homeless Persons (Unsuitable Accommodation) (Scotland) Order 2014.
Adam Lang, head of communications and policy at Shelter Scotland, said the figures back up the charity’s concerns that the decrease in homelessness numbers in recent times is slowing and may have plateaued.
He added: “It is deeply worrying that there are 826 more children without a permanent home in Scotland than the same time last year – a third consecutive rise. This is simply not good enough in 21st Century Scotland and shows that homelessness is far from fixed.
“To ensure no child spends longer than necessary in temporary accommodation, we need to deliver both a major step change in affordable housing supply, at least 12,000 affordable homes each year of this parliament, as well as a renewed local and national commitment to tackling the root causes of homelessness in Scotland.”
Scottish Liberal Democrat housing spokesperson Caron Lindsay said the rising number of children living in temporary accommodation is “a symptom of Scotland’s housing crisis”. “A child without the safety and stability of a permanent home is missing out on the best possible start in life and the Government cannot allow this to continue,” she said.
“That’s why Scottish Liberal Democrats want to see the number of affordable homes increase by 50,000 over this Parliament, with 40,000 of these available for social rent rather than purchase. This would make a big difference as we seek to ensure that every child has a safe and stable home.”
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