Recent figures obtained through Freedom of Information requests have revealed that the number of people living in council-provided temporary accommodation has increased since 2015/16.
Scottish local authorities received around 34,100 applications for homelessness assistance during 2016/17, some 2% lower than in the same period in 2015/16. While homelessness applications are falling, the number of people being placed in temporary accommodation is rising suggesting that local authorities are increasingly using temporary accommodation to compensate for the lack of social housing across Scotland.
Placements in temporary accommodation can present serious challenges for families – from parents’ employment and health to children’s ability to focus on school studies and form friendships.
Rev Graeme Wilson, Convener of Scottish Churches Housing Action has written to Kevin Stewart MSP, Minister for Local Government and Housing in the Scottish Government, calling for an approach that ‘seeks to eradicate, rather than just to manage, Scotland’s major problems of homelessness’.
Rev Wilson said: “We have to be quite clear that responding to homelessness is not just a housing matter: housing is essential, but not enough. We need to be sure that Ministers and Cabinet Secretaries with responsibility for education, health, community justice, young people in care, and job creation are all aware of what they should be doing to ensure that there is no room for homelessness in Scotland”.
A similar report looking at the situation in England found that councils there are currently providing temporary housing for 120,540 children with their families, which is a net increase of 32,650 (37 per cent) since the second quarter of 2014, an average of 906 extra children every month.