Homelessness faced by 30,000 Scottish households

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Official figures show 31,333 households in Scotland were homeless or threatened by homelessness last year.

The release from the chief statistician for 2019-20 indicates a 4% rise in households affected.

By the end of March 2020, almost 12,000 households were in temporary accommodation.

Housing Minister Kevin Stewart said the figures were a “reminder about why we are committed to ending homelessness and rough sleeping”.

Other key points in the publication show:

  • There were 36,855 applications for homelessness assistance.
  • A total of 15,711 children were in the households classed as homeless or under threat of homelessness.
  • There were 11,665 households in temporary accommodation at 31 March 2020, an increase of 676 (6%) compared to 10,989 at 31 March 2019.
  • There were 7,280 children in temporary accommodation at 31 March 2020, an increase of 485 (7%) compared to 6,795 at 31 March 2019.

Commenting on the figures, Mr Stewart said: “They do not reflect the progress made to dramatically reduce the numbers of people sleeping rough during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Since the start of the crisis, we have provided more than £1.5m to third sector partners to accommodate those experiencing homelessness in hotels.”

The minister added: “Our priority is now to prevent anyone from ending up back on the streets or in unsuitable temporary accommodation.”

Shelter Scotland has called on the Scottish government to uphold its promises to homeless people.

‘Failing’ system

Assistant director Gordon MacRae said: “These figures show that Scotland’s homelessness system was failing people even before the pandemic hit.

“We had rising homelessness and record numbers of people in temporary accommodation before the lockdown. Local authorities were already struggling to cope with the level of housing need.

“And since then the situation has gotten a lot worse.”

He added that the government took swift action to get rough sleepers off the street when the pandemic hit.

“They pledged not to go backwards on homelessness as we emerged from the crisis,” he said.

“Now is the time for ministers to uphold their promises to homeless people.”

BBC News