Homelessness down but Scotland sees rise of children in temporary accommodation

crisis homelessEfforts to reduce homelessness in Scotland are continuing to pay dividends but the number of children living in temporary accommodation is once again on the increase.

Official statistics published today by Scotland’s Chief Statistician revealed that 17,100 applications for homelessness assistance were received during April to September 2016, 3 per cent lower than in the same period in 2015.

However, the number of children in temporary accommodation increased by 826 children at 30 September 2016, up 17 per cent, when compared to figures with the same date one year earlier.

Overall, there were 10,570 households in temporary accommodation as at 30 September 2016 – an increase of 97 households (+1 per cent) compared with one year earlier. Over a quarter (3,174 households) included children or a pregnant member of the household - an increase of 355 households (+13 per cent) since the same time last year.

As at 30 September 2016, 27 households were in unsuitable temporary accommodation, with 12 breaches of The Homeless Persons (Unsuitable Accommodation) (Scotland) Order 2014.

Housing Options (PREVENT1) statistics, also published this morning, found that local authorities received 24,355 approaches during April to September 2016, a reduction of 4,605 (-16 per cent) compared to the same six months in 2015. The most common activities undertaken were providing general housing/tenancy advice and informing households of their rights under the homelessness legislation.

For approaches closed during the period of 1 April to 30 September 2016, 44 per cent went on to make a homelessness application, 22 per cent remained in their current accommodation and 17 per cent found alternative accommodation. A total of 17 per cent had an unknown outcome or contact was lost.

Commenting on the statistics, housing minister Kevin Stewart said he was “disappointed” in the increase in the number of children in temporary accommodation and pledged to continue to address the issue.

He said: “We are doing everything we can to make sure everyone has access to a warm and safe place to stay, and I welcome the decrease in the number of homeless applications being made during this time.

“It is, however, our aim to stop people becoming homeless in the first place which is much better for our people and our communities, and of course our homelessness services.

“While there are many reasons for families staying in temporary accommodation, I am disappointed in the increase in the number of children in temporary accommodation. Although the majority of temporary accommodation is good quality, well managed social housing which is of the exact same standard as permanent accommodation, I am keen to see these numbers decrease and people to have a settled home.

“We are addressing the various reasons for families staying in temporary accommodation and I will continue to work together with local authorities and partners in the best interests of all households.”

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