More than a third of Scots impacted by Scotland’s ‘broken and biased’ housing system



Alison Watson

Research for housing and homelessness charity Shelter Scotland shows 1.5 million adults in Scotland (36%) are currently struggling with the condition, security, suitability, or affordability of their home, or been discriminated against while trying to find it.

Around 3%, representing more than 130,000 adults, agreed they had experienced discrimination in the search for their current home and felt it was because of their ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, nationality, religion or disability.

The findings are based on an online poll by YouGov.

The number of people in unsafe or insecure housing rises to a shocking 1.9 million when children are included in the total.

Shelter Scotland director Alison Watson said: “Scotland’s housing system is broken and biased. It is failing people. Hundreds of thousands of people are being held back by the lack of a proper home that would support them to flourish.

“You don’t have to be living on the streets to be severely impacted by the housing emergency. Hundreds of thousands are putting up with the unacceptable, counting their blessings that it’s not worse. We have to stand up and demand better for everyone.”

The charity said people who agreed they had experienced discrimination when trying to find their current home were almost three times as likely to be struggling with issues such as overcrowding, poor conditions, insecurity or affordability.

Case Study - Perry’s story

Perry (57) from Aberdeen has been waiting on a transfer to a flat with no stairs for three years. He has mobility issues and other health problems after suffering from a brain injury many years ago. He needs a home on the ground floor in a quiet neighbourhood as he is sensitive to noise. He currently has to negotiate stone steps leading up to his front door and then a long flight of steps to his flat.

“Because of my problems with the stairs I only go out three or four times a month.

Perry struggles with his current housing situation

“I’ve weakness in my legs and sometimes when I go to the stairs I think I just can’t do this and I can’t go out. I’m worried I will fall or I won’t be able to get back in. When I do use the stairs I’m holding on tight.

“When I get my shopping delivered, they won’t take it upstairs. It just sits inside the door. I start with things for the fridge. I take them upstairs and the rest just waits until I can manage it. It’ll take about two days to get it all in.

“Finding a home that’s on the ground floor that I can manage will mean a lot. It’ll mean a better quality of life. I will be less isolated. If I don’t have to negotiate stairs I can use that energy to go for a walk round the block, enjoy the sun. It might seem like a little thing but just getting fresh air will make a big difference.”

Alison Watson added: “Our housing system is horribly unequal. The fight for home starts here. We’re asking people to join us whether they are personally affected by this or not. Together we will campaign to end this injustice.”

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “We want everyone to have a home that is warm, safe and affordable and the actions in our long-term housing strategy Housing to 2040 set out how we will achieve that.

“Creating a home requires more than bricks and mortar, which is why we have committed to realising the right to adequate housing and, as part of that, we will undertake a comprehensive audit of our current housing and homelessness legislation to ensure that it meets the needs of everyone including those who have faced barriers to housing.

“Scotland has led the way across the UK with almost 100,000 affordable homes delivered since 2007 and we are committed to delivery of a further 100,000 by 2032 – with at least 70% of these available for social rent.”



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