Less than half of single homeless people in Scotland find a home, research finds
Despite the introduction of some of the most progressive homelessness legislation in the world, less than half of single homeless people in Scotland are found accommodation when they ask for help, according to a new report by homelessness charity Crisis.
The findings, from Single homelessness in Scotland, reveal that only 47 per cent of single homeless people – people without dependent children – receive a tenancy through their local council when they become homeless. This compared to 66 per cent of families being found a settled home.
Ann Landels, director of Crisis Scotland, said: “Scotland is an international leader in its approach to tackling homelessness. All homeless people in Scotland are now entitled to accommodation, providing they are unintentionally homeless. But this research shows there are still challenges to be faced. Single homeless people are still not getting the help they need, and face real inconsistency in the level of support they get depending on which council they go to for help.
“We are calling for an overarching review of how homelessness support in Scotland is working, to make sure that the ambition of our legislation is matched by the ambition of our practice. We are keen to work with local councils to help them overcome the challenges they face supporting people who find themselves homeless.”
Report author Peter Mackie said: “The assistance offered to single homeless people in Scotland is exceptional when compared to other developed nations and we must recognise this. However, this study shows that efforts to prevent homelessness are highly inconsistent and many single homeless people are not finding a home when they seek local authority assistance. We must look carefully at the services offered by local authorities if we really wish to meet the needs of single homeless people.”
The findings come despite legislation which came into force in 2013 entitling anyone finding themselves homeless through no fault of their own to a permanent home. Previously, single homeless people had to prove themselves particularly vulnerable in order to qualify for such support.
Help available to single homeless people varies greatly between local authorities, the report warns. Some councils were much more likely to put people into temporary accommodation, while others spent very long periods of time processing homelessness applications. And some councils had much higher rates of people ending up homeless on multiple occasions.
The report calls on the Scottish Housing Regulator to carry out an overarching review of how homelessness support is working across Scotland, to ensure that all homeless people in Scotland have a home of their own – the ambition set out in Scotland’s 2013 homelessness legislation.