Charities bear brunt of Scotland’s housing emergency

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People seeking support from the housing charity is at record levels 

21st September 2018 by Robert Armour 0 Comments

Scotland’s housing crisis is putting huge pressure on support services with Shelter revealing record numbers using its services.

New figures from the charity show that last year 21,290 people received help from its housing advice and support services – more than ever before.

In its annual impact report 2017/18, the charity says that 46% of its clients were aged 16-34 years old while 36% of its clients were private renters – a disproportionately high number compared to the size of the private rental sector, which makes up just 15% of all housing in Scotland.

Clients were helped via its free national helpdesk, digital chat service and one-to-one advice sessions. There were also 894,025 unique visits to its online advice pages in Scotland.

The main reason people gave for needing help (46%) was ‘keeping their home’ i.e. struggling to afford their housing costs or facing eviction. 32% of people who came to Shelter Scotland last year wanted help to ‘find a home’ - including advice and assistance with homelessness. Of those seeking help, 58% were female and 42% male.

Graeme Brown, director of Shelter Scotland, said: “The report shows once again the disproportionate impact of Scotland’s housing crisis on young people and private renters who are both over-represented in the number of people we helped.

“An acute shortage of truly affordable homes, harsh welfare reforms, stagnant wages and the high cost of keeping a roof over their head are the main reasons driving people to ask for help.

“Struggling to afford or pay housing costs is the biggest presenting problem people have when coming to us for help.”

On average a household becomes homeless every 18 minutes in Scotland with unknown numbers sofa surfing with friends and families as they don’t have, or cannot afford, a home of their own.

Brown added: “Behind those statistics are people, families, individuals – people on low incomes, people with complex needs, people in crisis - some of the most vulnerable people in our society.

“These are the people we help day-in, day-out and, until there’s a decent, safe and secure home for everyone, we’ll carry on fighting for everyone in Scotland facing bad housing and homelessness.”