17% increase in children in temporary accommodation in Scotland

National Statistics Scotland has released its official publication ‘Homelessness in Scotland’.

Joan-McAlpine--homelessness

The report shows that Scottish local authorities received around 17,100 applications for homelessness assistance during April to September 2016, 3% lower than in the same period in 2015.

However, the number of children in temporary accommodation increased by 826 children (+17%), comparing figures at 30 September 2016 with the same date one year ago.

Overall, there were 10,570 households in temporary accommodation as at 30 September 2016 – an increase of 97 households (+1%) compared with one year earlier. Over a quarter (3,174 households) included children or a pregnant member of the household – an increase of 355 households (+13%) since the same time last year.

As at 30 September 2016, 27 households were in unsuitable temporary accommodation, with 12 breaches of The Homeless Persons (Unsuitable Accommodation) (Scotland) Order 2014.

With respect to Housing Options, local authorities received 24,355 approaches during April to September 2016, a reduction of 4,605 (-16%) compared to the same six months in 2015. The most common activities undertaken were providing general housing/tenancy advice and informing households of their rights under the homelessness legislation.

For approaches closed during the period of 1 April to 30 September 2016, 44% went on to make a homelessness application, 22% remained in their current accommodation and 17% found alternative accommodation. 17% had an unknown outcome or contact was lost.

Responding to the report, CIH Scotland executive director, Annie Mauger, said: “Today’s statistics continue to show a downward trend in the number of people being assessed as homeless and this is testament to the hard work of the housing sector and its focus on prevention.

“However, we are concerned by the number of households who find themselves in temporary accommodation and particularly the rise in the number of households with children living in temporary accommodation – 3,174 at the end of September last year, a 13% increase on the corresponding number a year previously.

“Temporary accommodation is not ideal for any household but can be particularly disruptive for children. These statistics show the need for a continued focus on providing enough good quality, affordable homes with the right type of support in place to ensure that every household in Scotland has a safe secure place to call home.”

Zhan McIntyre, SFHA Policy Lead, said: “While we welcome the small drop in homeless applications, more needs to be done to prevent homelessness. The increase in the amount of children in temporary accommodation by 17% is alarming and shows that more affordable housing is desperately needed.

“Looking at the reasons applicants gave for failing to sustain accommodation, there was a 21% increase in applicants citing mental health problems and a 13% increase in those stating physical health problems – this suggests that the housing sector’s links with health and social care colleagues need to be strengthened.

“Everyone in Scotland should have a warm, safe, affordable home. In order to end the blight of homelessness in Scotland, not only do we need to increase the amount of affordable housing, but we need to work closer with stakeholders, such as the health and social care sector, so that we can focus on those most in need and help people to sustain their tenancy.”

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