Scotland could soon be faced with a “tidal wave of evictions” unless actions are taken to protect people in financial difficulty from being kicked out of their homes.
That’s the view of Shelter Scotland director Alison Watson who has warned of what could be quite devastating consequences for a great many people across the country unless appropriate support is given to those who can no longer afford to pay their rent.
The warning has been issued in response to new figures showing that there was a 40 per cent increase in applications for access to cash via the Scottish Welfare Fund between June last year and the same month in 2020.
In June, more than £1.3 million was handed out by the fund, which was created to provide financial assistance to people in dire need of it and in a clear state of crisis.
The scale of demand seen for emergency support in June was much higher than the year before but down compared to the previous three months, with a huge upsurge in the number of Scots struggling to make ends meet recorded in March, April and May this year.
The main worry for Shelter Scotland, as a homelessness charity, is that the scheduled end to legal protections against eviction will lead to a massive rise homelessness in the autumn and winter months.
“The current protections that slow down the eviction process run out at the end of September,” Ms Watson from Shelter told Scottish Housing News.
“Without an extension we will see a tidal wave of people losing their homes. We need these emergency measures to be kept in placed until April next year,” she’s quoted as saying.
It has become clear that large numbers of people in Scotland and across the UK are now relying heavily on credit to cover their essential outgoings, including rent, as the coronavirus crisis continues.
In June, the debt help charity StepChange warned that a “personal debt tsunami” was heading for the UK because so many people have been forced to borrow to survive in recent months.
The charity said that by June more than 4 million people in the UK were already reliant on debt to make ends meet as a direct result of the Covid-19 situation.
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The emergency £20 increase to Universal Credit payments introduced in response to the Covid pandemic could be taken away from prospective recipients from April next year.
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