Shelter Scotland Declares ‘National Housing Emergency’
September 26, 2018
The homelessness charity Shelter Scotland has described the current situation around the country as being nothing less than a “national housing emergency”.
Shelter’s latest impact report suggests that a household in Scotland is made homeless at an average rate of one every 18 minutes.
The charity has revealed that its teams helped more than 21,000 people over the course of the year 2017/18, which equates to more assistance than has ever been demanded before.
Of those thousands of people, 46 per cent were aged between 16 and 34 and 36 per cent were private renters, despite the private rented sector only accounting for 15 per cent of all housing stocks in Scotland.
A majority (58 per cent) of people who reached out to Shelter Scotland last year for support or advice about a housing or potential homelessness situation were women.
Reflecting on some of the reasons why there are so many people struggling to keep a roof over their heads across the country, Shelter Scotland director Graeme Brown pointed to “an acute shortage of truly affordable homes” and “harsh welfare reforms,” as well as stagnant wages and high costs.
“Struggling to afford or pay housing costs is the biggest presenting problem people have when coming to us for help,” he said.
Mr Brown noted that his organisation is not certain how many people are not categorised as being homeless but are “sofa surfing” and unable to afford a home of their own.
He added that the number of homeless children there are in Scotland is at a 10-year high and that there are rough sleepers dying on city streets.
“Behind the 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,” Mr Brown said.
“These are the people we help day-in, day-out and, until there’s a decent, safe and secure home for everyone, we’ll carry on fighting for everyone in Scotland facing bad housing and homelessness.”
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