There are currently 11,800 people across Scotland either sleeping rough, staying in hostels, living in unsuitable temporary accommodation, sofa surfing or experiencing other forms of the worst types of homelessness such as squats, refuges or sleeping in cars.
Now new expert analysis conducted for Crisis by Heriot-Watt University has revealed that this figure is expected to rise to 12,200 by 2021 before accelerating to 18,100 – a rise of 53% on current levels – in 2041.
Launched as part of Crisis’ 50th anniversary year and drawing on the most up-to-date sources available, the analysis aims to provide the most complete picture to-date of the worst forms of homelessness, as well as 25-year forecasts for each category across Scotland, England and Wales.
The report estimates that at any one time in 2016 across Scotland:
- 800 households people slept rough (on one identified night)
- 5,200 households were sofa surfing
- 2,100 households were living in unsuitable temporary accommodation
- 2,300 households were living in hostels
- 1,400 households living in other circumstances, including squats, women’s refuges, winter night shelters, sleeping in tents, cars or public transport.
Scotland estimates and forecasts
Drawing on detailed economic modelling, the report warns that if current policies continue unchanged, the most acute forms of homelessness are likely to keep rising, with rough sleeping almost doubling the 2016 figure to a predicted number of 1,500 by 2041. In the shorter-term, sofa surfing is estimated to rise by nearly a quarter (23%) in the next decade, while the number of households in unsuitable temporary accommodation is set to increase by a third.
Across Britain, rough sleeping is forecast to rise by 76% in the next decade unless the respective governments take long-term action to tackle it.
In response to the report’s findings, Crisis is calling on the public to join its Everybody In campaign – a national movement for permanent change aimed at ending the worst forms of homelessness once and for all.
Jon Sparkes, chief executive of Crisis, said: “This year Crisis marks its 50th anniversary, but that’s little cause for celebration. We still exist because homelessness still exists, and today’s report makes it only too clear that unless we take action as a society, the problem is only going to get worse with every year that passes. That means more people sleeping on our streets, in doorways or bus shelters, on the sofas of friends or family, or getting by in hostels and B&Bs. In order to tackle this, it’s crucial we first understand the scale of the problem.
“The Scottish Government has already committed to building 50,000 new affordable homes, with 35,000 of them available for social rent by 2021. This will contribute to a slow-down on the number of people affected by homelessness. They are also committed to eradicating child poverty with an ambitious Bill currently going through Parliament. Now is the time for action and we look forward to working with the Scottish Government to find solutions and bring these forecasts down.
“We can’t do this in isolation though, which is why we’re calling on the public to back our Everybody In campaign and help us build a movement for change. Together we can find the answers, and make sure those in power listen to them.”
Great Britain estimates and forecasts
Everybody In aims to bring people together to change opinions, raise awareness and ultimately end homelessness for good, and includes a library of first-hand accounts showing the reality of homelessness in Britain.
Alongside this, Crisis will be working towards a national plan to end the worst forms of homelessness once and for all, bringing together everything needed to make this happen, including consultations in all three nations and a large scale programme of research.
Today’s report is the first of two parts, with the second – due for publication in the Autumn – to examine ‘wider homelessness’, including people at risk of homelessness or those who have already experienced it, such as households that have been served an eviction notice and those in other forms of temporary accommodation.