Number of Homeless Households in Hostels Across Scotland Up 43% Since 2010
June 4, 2018
The number of homeless households who’ve been placed in some form of hostel accommodation has increased by as much as 43 per cent across Scotland since 2010.
That’s according to new research looking into the subject by a team from Heriot-Watt University, whose study was commissioned by the social enterprise organisation Social Bite on behalf of the Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Action Group (HARSAG).
Experts have raised serious concerns about the negative effects that staying in temporary accommodation, including hostels or bed and breakfasts (B&Bs), can have on people, particularly young people and those who are especially vulnerable for any reason.
In addition to establishing that staying in congregate accommodation is much more common for homeless Scots now than in 2010, the university researchers found that the lengths of time being spent in these settings is also on the rise.
Close to 10,000 people are currently estimated to be living in temporary accommodation on any given night in Scotland.
In Edinburgh, more than a third of homeless households are being accommodated on a temporary basis in B&Bs, according to the research findings.
“If we are to work towards an end to homelessness then we must transform the temporary accommodation system where many of our most vulnerable people are forced to live,” said Josh Littlejohn, who co-founded Social Bite, which employs formerly homeless people at its cafes and campaigns in support of ending homelessness in Scotland.
“We know all too well from our experience of working with homeless people that when someone lives in the ‘homelessness system’ of hostels and B&Bs for a significant period of time, they become increasing marginalised, stigmatised and mental health challenges can worsen.”
“Temporary accommodation is not a housing solution, it is an emergency measure which should only be used while permanent housing is sought,” added Jon Sparkes, who is chief executive of the homelessness charity Crisis and chair of HARSAG.
“When it is used, there should be the necessary support available for each person, the quality should be of at least a minimum enforceable standard and where basic provisions are not met then people should not have to stay for more than seven days.”
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