With rising debt levels and rough sleeping more visible than at any time in decades, there is a growing awareness homelessness is only a few paychecks away.
One in three people in Scotland either know someone at risk of becoming homeless – or feel at risk themselves, a new survey has revealed.
Scots renting their home appear to feel closer to crisis point, with 41% saying either they or someone they know is vulnerable to homelessness. Only 25% of homeowners north of the border felt the same way.
Worryingly, 39% of young people (16-24) surveyed felt they or a friend were in danger of becoming homeless, according to the Street Soccer Scotland study.
The organisation’s chief executive David Duke said: “It can happen to any of us. Homelessness does not discriminate. It can take just one small change in circumstances.”
It doesn’t just apply to people on the fringes of society, we’re talking about people who have jobs and mortgages who are also at risk
Duke, a former outreach manager for The Big Issue who was homeless for a period of three years, explained how quickly problems can mount up.
“For me, it was bereavement when my dad died, but it can equally be illness or having your hours reduced at work, that sends people into a spiral towards homelessness,” he said.
“It doesn’t just apply to people on the fringes of society, we’re talking about people who have jobs and mortgages who are also at risk, as well as people renting their homes – people who think it could never happen to them.”
Street Soccer Scotland uses football to give people facing social exclusion new opportunities.
Duke, its founder, is also part of a Scottish Government task force – the Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Action Group.
The body has called for increased emergency accommodation and greater use of the emergency Nightstop service, which provide young people with emergency accommodation for up to two weeks in the homes of approved volunteers.