Report confirms Scotland in grip of housing crisis

Homelessness

Urgent call to develop a new housing strategy as report shows extent of homelessness in Scotland 

7th August 2017 by Robert Armour 0 Comments

Scotland’s housing crisis shows no sign of abating as young people are hit harder than ever by a “terrible shortage” of affordable homes.

A Shelter Scotland report said the charity helped 21,000 people in the past year, with one household in Scotland becoming homeless every 19 minutes on average.

Young people aged between 16 and 34 also made up almost half (46%) of those who sought advice.

The lack of affordable homes in the country combined with welfare reforms and high cost of living was creating an impossible situation for many.

In response the charity is calling for a new housebuilding strategy to provide more homes for those struggling to get on the property ladder.

A similar percentage (44%) needed help keeping their home, while 29 per cent of people who approached the charity wanted assistance to find a home, including advice on homelessness.

More than 1,000 people who were already homeless came to the charity for help, the report said.  

Deputy director Alison Watson said: “This report shows 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.

“The terrible 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.”

She added: “The statistics speak for themselves – on average, a household in Scotland becomes homeless every 19 minutes. We are seeing more reports of rough sleepers dying on our city streets. 

We are seeing more reports of rough sleepers dying on our city streets - Alison Watson

“Unknown numbers are sofa surfing with friends and families as they don’t have, or cannot afford, a home of their own. Our teams were contacted by more than 1,000 households who were already homeless.

“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.”

Labour’s Pauline McNeill MSP said: “Thousands of young people can’t afford the deposit for a home and don’t have access to social housing so are forced to rent privately – but the rent is so high that many can never save up enough.

“Labour has been putting pressure on the SNP government for months to take the housing crisis seriously. That means building more homes with a national housebuilding strategy, creating jobs and cutting poverty levels, but also reforming the private rented sector too.”

Housing minister Kevin Stewart said: “This government is working hard to protect the most vulnerable in society from the impact of the UK government’s harsh austerity cuts.

“We are on track to deliver even more houses in this parliamentary term with our commitment to deliver at least 50,000 affordable homes – including 35,000 social homes, backed by over £3 billion investment during the lifetime of this Parliament.”

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