Homelessness Down for Sixth Consecutive Year Across Scotland

June 30, 2015

Levels of homelessness recorded across Scotland fell for the sixth consecutive 12 month period over the past year, according to official figures on the subject.

The Scottish government is hailing the numbers as evidence of the effectiveness of its approach to preventing homelessness, which is based around informing people of their housing options at crucial moments.

According to the latest data, there was a 4 per cent fall in the number of Scots registering as homeless over the past year, with the rate now reckoned to be consistently falling nationwide.

Homelessness is of course a distressing circumstance for anyone and the Scottish government has introduced a service designed to inform individuals and families of their housing options when they are worried about becoming homeless but are not yet in that position.

The initiative is now providing support to thousands of people around the country on an annual basis and is credited with a significant role in reducing overall levels of Scottish homelessness.

In fact, government figures suggest that only 45 per cent of people who got in touch with advisors in reference to their housing options then went on to register as officially being homeless, with the remaining 55 per cent apparently able to avoid that scenario.

“The Housing Options service is responsible for the fall in homelessness applications and we are now able to evidence this using these new statistics,” said Scottish housing minister Margaret Burgess.

“Housing is at the heart of the Scottish government’s ambition for a fairer and more prosperous country, and preventing people from experiencing the misery of homelessness is a priority.”

In recent weeks a new Empty Homes Hotline was established by the Scottish government, with the aim being to see a higher proportion of residential properties across the country being used as homes rather than standing empty.

With the help of the homelessness charity Shelter Scotland, the hotline has been set up to take calls from anyone who spots a potential home being unused for an extended period of time in their community.

There are estimated to be around 150,000 families on official waiting lists for homes of their own in Scotland, while roughly 27,000 private residential properties are believed to be unoccupied.

John Baird

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