A household in Scotland became homeless ‘every 19 minutes’ last year

crisis homelessThe latest homelessness statistics from the Scottish Government show that, on average, a household in Scotland “became homeless every 19 minutes” last year, Shelter Scotland has said.

Scottish councils received around 34,100 applications for homelessness assistance during 2016/17, 2% lower than in the same period in 2015/16.

During the same period 34,267 assessments were made, 82% of which were assessed as homeless or threatened with homelessness, this was the same proportion as in 2015/16.

Overall, there were 10,873 households in temporary accommodation as at 31 March 2017 – an increase of 330 households (+3%) compared with one year earlier. Over a quarter (3,250 households) included children or a pregnant member of the household - an increase of 367 households (+13%) since the same time last year. The number of children in temporary accommodation also increased, by 818 children (+16%) compared to the same time last year.

Adam Lang, head of communications and policy at Shelter Scotland, said: “These numbers show that on average last year a household in Scotland became homeless every 19 minutes.

“They also show a 16% rise in the number of children in temporary accommodation in Scotland who do not have a permanent place to call home, as well as a 10% increase in people saying they slept rough the night before making a homelessness application.

“We know that families with children are spending longer and longer in temporary accommodation waiting for a home. This can be particularly detrimental to children’s health, life chances and education, as children without a settled home can miss up to 55 school days each year.

“We want to see a new National Homelessness Strategy in Scotland to ensure all aspects of local and national government work together better to tackle and prevent homelessness.”

Ashley Campbell, policy and practice manager at CIH Scotland, added: “While important progress has been made to reduce the number of homeless applications in Scotland, this latest set of statistics shows that this progress is now slowing down significantly. Achieving further progress will require concerted efforts and more intensive support for those who do become homeless, many of whom will have multiple complex needs.

“CIH Scotland is equally concerned about the substantial number of people who continue to live in temporary accommodation. Keeping people housed in temporary accommodation is both costly to society and potentially damaging to the long term health and wellbeing of those affected. Given the numbers still involved, finding long-term housing solutions for those currently living in temporary accommodation must remain a top priority.”

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