Housing

Almost 3,000 Scottish families are sleeping in temporary accommodation

The number of homeless Scottish households in hostels up 43 per cent since 2010

A hostel for the homeless

The number of homeless households in Scotland has risen by 43 per cent since 2010, according to a new study carried out by Heriot-Watt University.

Almost 3,000 families, up to 10,000 people every night, are now stuck in temporary accommodation – a situation that the Scottish government has pledged to transform.

The figures come from research carried out by the university on behalf of the Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Action Group, and commissioned by Social Bite, whose co-founder Josh Littlejohn is part of the group.

Social Bite village
Social-Bite-village-3
The Social Bite village in Granton, Edinburgh, was the result of two years' planning and 10 months' building. Image: Social Bite

He said: “If we are to work towards an end to homelessness, then we must transform the temporary accommodation system where many of our most vulnerable people are forced to live. We know all too well from our experience of working with homeless people that when someone lives in the ‘homelessness system’ of hostels and B&Bs for a significant period of time, they become increasing marginalised, stigmatised and mental health challenges can worsen.”

The Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Group in Scotland has already made recommendations that aim to transform temporary accommodation.

The Scottish government has accepted 15 of the 21 recommendations, including getting the right support in place from day one and giving more power to front-line workers. A further six, which relate to devolution of funding from the UK government, will be analysed in conjunction with local authorities.

Jon Sparkes, chair of the group and chief executive of national homelessness charity Crisis, said: “Temporary accommodation should be a short-term response to each person’s homelessness before they quickly move into a permanent and secure place to call home. At the heart of our recommendations are measures to prevent homelessness in the first place, ensure support is available and wider options for more settled housing.”

Housing Minister Kevin Stewart MSP praised the recommendations which come as part of the group’s £50m mission to end rough sleeping in the country.

“I welcome the third set of recommendations from the action group and I’m very grateful for the work the group has done to engage with people who have experienced homelessness, front line workers and colleagues working across the sector,” he said.

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