Scottish children suffered nearly one million days of homelessness

Alison Watson, Deputy Director of Shelter Scotland
Alison Watson, Deputy Director of Shelter Scotland

Children living in Scotland suffered nearly one million days of homelessness last year according to housing campaign charity Shelter.

A new report has shown that in 2014-15 local authorities provided around 3.8 million days of temporary accommodation for homeless households – of which nearly one million were for households with children.

Shelter said the figures showed that a major house building programme was needed and called on politicians to get on board.

Alison Watson, deputy director of Shelter Scotland, said: “To tackle Scotland’s housing crisis and help end housing-related poverty, the Scottish Government needs to commit to a major house building programme of at least 12,000 new affordable homes each year for the next five years.”

The Scottish Government statistics were released after a Freedom of Information request by Shelter Scotland.

Temporary accomm-odation provides a safety net for families that have lost their home but the charity points out that extended stays can be detrimental to wellbeing, particularly for children.

According to Audit Scotland, using temporary accommodation costs Scottish local authorities around £27 million a year more than housing them in permanent homes.

Alison said: “Building new social housing would help reduce long stays in temporary accommodation and bring hope of a home to the 150,000 households on council waiting lists across Scotland.

“The Scottish Government also needs to develop and endorse guidance on temporary accommodation standards to ensure that stays in temporary accommodation are a positive stepping stone rather than life in limbo for all those waiting for a decent, secure and affordable home.

“This report is further evidence of Scotland’s housing crisis and why we need political commitment to a major house building programme right now, to ensure that no child spends Christmas – or any other time of the year – homeless, living in temporary accommodation.”