Blog: Demand for help with bad housing and homelessness higher than ever
(Last) week we published Shelter Scotland’s annual Impact Report for 2017/18. As Scotland’s national housing and homelessness charity we are proud to provide advice and support to people in housing need across the country through our free national helpdesk, our online advice and via one-to-one advice sessions. We use the insight gained from the people we help to inform our campaigns for change to tackle the root causes of Scotland’s housing crisis.
Our Impact Report attempts to summarise this work over the last year and the difference it has made both individually to people’s lives as well as nationally at a policy and practice level.
Worryingly, our latest report shows that last year we helped more people than ever before in Scotland. 21,290 people received help from our housing advice and support services last year and there were 894,025 unique visits to our online Get Advice pages. The majority of people who came to us for help were needing support to keep their home and far too many were struggling to afford their housing costs or were facing eviction.
These numbers show that there can be no denying the scale and reality of Scotland’s housing crisis and the very human cost that it carries. Too many people’s lives are being devastated by an acute shortage of affordable social homes, harsh welfare reforms, stagnant wages and the high cost of keeping a roof over their head.
Scotland’s national housing statistics speak for themselves – on average, a household becomes homeless every 18 minutes. Rough sleepers are dying on our city streets and every day last year 38 children lost their home.
It is young adults and private renters that still seem to be bearing the brunt of much of these housing challenges – 46% of our clients last year were aged 16-34 years old and 36% of all those that came to us were private renters. This is particularly concerning when private renters make up just 15% of all households in Scotland.
But we must never forget that behind all of these statistics are people, families and individuals. People who often have little choice or control over their housing, families on low incomes, people with complex needs and people in crisis – some of the most vulnerable in our society. These are the people we help day-in, day-out across Scotland.
It is nothing for us to celebrate that 50 years on from when we were founded, we are still having to fight until there’s a decent and affordable home for everyone. We thought that by now bad housing and homelessness would be a thing of the past, but instead, our services and campaigns are needed more than ever.
At Shelter Scotland we will continue to provide services and help for those in need and campaign for the changes we need to tackle the root causes of our housing crisis. But we cannot do this alone.
We can only achieve the change we need in our society with the support from people and communities across Scotland. In our 50th anniversary year we are asking people to join us and help fight until there’s a home for everyone. If you agree that bad housing and homelessness should be a thing of Scotland’s past and not our future, then please sign up to join our campaign here: www.shelterscotland.org/50
- Adam Balfour is head of communications and policy at Shelter Scotland
This article was originally published on the Shelter Scotland website.