We're in the grip of a housing crisis, with almost 1 in 100 children homeless in Scotland today. In this guest blog, Alison Watson, Director of Shelter Scotland, calls on Scottish councils to take responsibility and act on this housing crisis.
Scotland is in the grip of a housing emergency, and communities across the country are suffering. At Shelter Scotland, we exist to defend the right to a safe home and fight the devastating impact the housing emergency has on people and society. This is more important now than ever before.
The pandemic has shown that having a safe and permanent home can be a matter of life and death and yet there are 7,500 homeless children across Scotland. They are trapped in temporary accommodation, often in cramped conditions which are entirely unsuitable. Many of them have been living in so-called temporary accommodation for months or, in some cases, years. We cannot let us go on any longer.
Living in temporary accommodation can have devastating effects. It disrupts children’s learning, it places huge strain on family life, it can ruin people’s health. In the face of a deepening cost-of-living crisis this problem is only going to get worse unless action is taken now.
We know that in Glasgow alone there are 2,480 children stuck in temporary accommodation, while 1,515 children in the capital face the same situation. In Aberdeen, a household with children spend 103 days in temporary accommodation on average, while in Dundee that figure rises to 285 days. This must be dealt with as a matter of urgency.
We want to see council leaders urgently stepping up in order to tackle this deepening housing emergency.
As more people are exposed to the risk of homelessness, only social housing can stem the tide. The Scottish Government has promised the cash for new social homes, we need to keep fighting to make sure they’re actually built.
With local elections coming up in May, our cities’ leaders can’t shirk their responsibilities. We need them to step up and finally contribute to building a future where everyone in Scotland, without exception, has their right to housing upheld.
The scale of the challenge is clear, but council leaders must rise to meet it. The thousands of children without the security and safety a permanent home provides can’t wait a second longer.