Almost 5,000 Scots children will be homeless this Christmas

SHELTER SCOTLAND portraits 2nd session
Alison Watson

More than 100,000 children in Britain will wake up homeless on Christmas Day with almost 5,000 of them in Scotland, housing and homelessness charity Shelter Scotland has warned today.

Launching its winter appeal, the charity said the fact that there will be 626 more homeless children in Scotland this Christmas than last year, a 15 percent increase, is simply not good enough and a badge of shame for such a relatively wealthy country.

Shelter Scotland is using the latest Scottish Government homelessness statistics as part of its winter appeal which aims to raise awareness of the plight of homeless children who will spend this Christmas living in temporary accommodation.

The charity says the increased number of homeless children indicates a growing bottleneck of families stuck in temporary accommodation due to the major shortage of affordable housing across Scotland.

Shelter Scotland is calling on all of Scotland’s political parties to include ambitious targets for new affordable housing in their manifestos for next year’s Holyrood election campaigns and bring hope to the 150,000 families and individuals stuck on council waiting lists across the country.

Alison Watson, deputy director of Shelter Scotland, said: “It’s completely unacceptable that in the 21st Century 100,000 children across Britain will spend Christmas homeless, with nearly 5,000 of them in Scotland. It’s even more damning that in Scotland this represents a 15 percent increase on the same statistics last year – so the problem seems to be getting worse, not better.

“Families with children can spend many weeks, months or even years stuck in temporary accommodation waiting for a house they can call home. Being homeless is particularly detrimental to children’s health, life chances and education, with recent research from the Commission on Housing and Wellbeing showing homeless children miss on average 55 school days each year.

“We simply have to do more to make sure no child is homeless at Christmas or at any other time.”

Alison Watsonadded: “Each December Shelter Scotland’s helpline advisors have to help hundreds of families at risk of losing their home. We need everyone’s support in the coming months so our teams can help prevent more people from becoming homeless or, if the worst happens, support them to get a decent roof over their heads.

“To help us, people can visit or text SHELTER to 70123* and donate £3 to support our work to prevent homelessness and give a child a warm, secure home when they need it – especially at Christmas.”

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