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by Kate Shannon
13 January 2015
Homelessness applications drop in Scotland

Homelessness applications drop in Scotland

The number of Scots seeking homelessness assistance has dropped by three per cent in a year, according to new statistics.

Scotland’s councils received around 9,100 applications for help during July to September 2014, a fall of about 300 compared to the same period in 2013.

As of 30 September 2014, there were just over 10,300 households in temporary accommodation, up slightly on the previous year.

Housing Minister Margaret Burgess said: “We are working closely with local authorities and their partners to prevent homelessness, increase the number of affordable homes and address the issue of empty homes.

“Councils have been developing services in which staff assist households to consider their range of housing options to address their housing needs in order to help prevent homelessness before it occurs.

“The Scottish Government’s Housing Voluntary Grant Scheme has also allowed third sector organisations, such as Age Scotland, Scottish Women’s Aid and Shelter Scotland, to develop projects that prevent homelessness.

“We are also investing over £1.7 billion to deliver 30,000 affordable homes during the lifetime of this Parliament, working with local authorities to build record numbers of council houses and have abolished the Right to Buy to protect up to 15,500 social homes from sale over the next 10 years.”

The fact remains that there is a chronic shortage of appropriate affordable rented housing across Scotland

In addition to the fall in applications, the number of people assessed as homeless, or likely to become homeless within two months, also fell by three per cent to around 7,400.

The data, which was published by Scotland’s chief statistician, shows that since 2008/9, homeless applications have fallen by 36 per cent.

The Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA) said that in order to tackle homelessness, the chronic shortage of affordable rented housing must be addressed.

Maureen Watson, SFHA head of policy, said: “The SFHA is pleased to see a reduction in homeless applications. However, the number of households in temporary accommodation has risen slightly, and the fact remains that too many people are experiencing homelessness in Scotland today.

“While we take encouragement from these statistics that the homelessness prevention policies and initiatives put in place by our members over recent years are continuing to bear fruit, the fact remains that there is a chronic shortage of appropriate affordable rented housing across Scotland.”

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