Crisis as number of homeless children rises

P3 child poverty

Almost 5,000 children in Scotland living in temporary accommodation

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12th January 2016 by Paul Cardwell 0 Comments

The number of children in Scotland who are homeless has risen.

Scottish Government statistics out today show at the last count there were 4,923 children forced to live in temporary accommodation – up 8% from the same time in 2014.

Director of Shelter Scotland, Graeme Brown described the figures which were calculated at the end of September 2015 as a “badge of shame and extremely concerning”.

This is simply not good enough in 21st century Scotland

He blasted: “Only this week Shelter Scotland highlighted the plight of around 5,000 children who experienced over a million days of homelessness between them in 2014/15.

“This is simply not good enough in 21st century Scotland.

Our report, along with today’s damning statistics, is further evidence of Scotland’s housing crisis and why we need political commitment to a major house building programme to deliver 12,000 new affordable homes, to ensure that no child spends longer than necessary in temporary accommodation.”

Overall, the number of households living in temporary accommodation in Scotland at the end of September 2015 increased by 2% to 10,567 – in comparison with the same date the previous year – despite the number of applications for help falling by 6%.

Of those households 2,884 – just over one in four – of them contained children or a pregnant household member.

Shelter Scotland’s position on temporary accommodation is that although it provides an important safety-net extended stays can be detrimental to a child’s wellbeing

In 2015, on average, households in temporary accommodation stayed there for 23 weeks

However, a third spent over six months in temporary accommodation and one in 10 spent over a year.

Half of all households with children spent more than 17 weeks in temporary accommodation, which was higher than the 13-week median for households without children.

Brown welcomed figures showing the number of applications for help had gone down but said in order for this to continue – and there to be a knock on effect in reducing the number of children living in temporary accommodation – then homelessness services across Scotland need to be properly funded and supported.

He added: “While we recognise the increasing financial pressures on local authorities, we would nevertheless call on them to protect and prioritise funding of homelessness service provisions.”

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