Housing benefit cut ‘could make 1,000 young Scots homeless’
As many as 1,000 young Scots will be forced into homelessness as a result of the “catastrophic” impact Tory welfare cuts could have on our most vulnerable 18 to 21-year-olds, Shelter Scotland has warned.
Speaking in the Daily Record yesterday, director of the homelessness charity Graeme Brown said George Osborne’s Budget could create a ‘homeless timebomb’ north of the border.
Around 36,000 people are already assessed as homeless in Scotland, and Shelter fear that number will be swelled by Osborne’s plan to axe housing benefit for 18 to 21-year-olds.
Mr Brown said he plans to ask the Scottish Government to intervene to help the young people affected – as they did for victims of the ‘bedroom tax’.
He said: “Young people are particularly vulnerable to homelessness. They may have to leave home due to abuse or neglect, or have been in care. Every person has a different story.
“If they become homeless, they’re more likely to have a repeat episode of homelessness later in life.”
Brown said youngsters who lose housing benefit wibll have no hope of keeping expensive private rented homes, even if they’re training or looking for work.
He added: “The impact is going to be catastrophic. There are nearly 2900 young people on housing benefit. If just one in three were put in that difficulty then it’s absolutely possible 1000 will become homeless.”
Brown also fears the impact of the Tories’ £20,000 overall benefit cap, and the introduction of universal credit. And he says governments have failed for decades to build enough decent homes for the poor.
He said Scotland has 150,000 people on housing waiting lists – often for years – and 10,500, including 4000 children, in temporary accommodation.
Brown added: “There’s been decades of under-investment in housing and we’re paying the price.”
Shelter wants the Scottish Government to agree to build 10,000 new social homes a year.