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by Louise Wilson
26 May 2021
‘Broken’ housing system leaves 1.5 million people in unsuitable homes, research finds


‘Broken’ housing system leaves 1.5 million people in unsuitable homes, research finds

More than 1.5 million people in Scotland could be living in unsuitable homes, research from Shelter Scotland has found.

A YouGov poll commissioned by the charity revealed 36 per cent of respondents had had problems with the cost, security and safety of their current home.

Shelter Scotland said it was evidence of the “broken and biased” housing system which does not meet the needs of people.

According to the poll, one in six people have had problems keeping their home warm during winter, while one in ten said they had been significantly affected by mould, condensation or damp.

Seven per cent of respondents reported their homes not being big enough resulting in “unsuitable room sharing” and eight per cent expressed concern that their home was not structurally sound.

In addition, three per cent said they had experience discrimination while searching for their  home due to ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, nationality, religion or disability. 

Shelter Scotland director Alison Watson said: “Scotland’s housing system is broken and biased. It is failing people. Hundreds of thousands of people are being held back by the lack of a proper home that would support them to flourish.  

“You don’t have to be living on the streets to be severely impacted by the housing emergency. Hundreds of thousands are putting up with the unacceptable, counting their blessings that it’s not worse. We have to stand up and demand better for everyone.” 

Perry, a 57-year-old man from Aberdeen, has been waiting for a transfer to new accommodation for three years.

He has mobility issues after suffering a brain injury and has difficulty negotiating the stairs to his flat. This means he only leaves the house three or four times a month.

He said: “I’ve weakness in my legs and sometimes when I go to the stairs, I think I just can’t do this and I can’t go out. I’m worried I will fall or I won’t be able to get back in. When I do use the stairs, I’m holding on tight.”

Perry has been waiting for a ground floor flat to become available.

He added: “It’ll mean a better quality of life. I will be less isolated. If I don’t have to negotiate stairs, I can use that energy to go for a walk round the block, enjoy the sun. It might seem like a little thing but just getting fresh air will make a big difference.” 

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