Scotland's shame as 186,000 children revealed to be living in damp and condensation
22 June 2011
The number of children in Scotland now living in homes with condensation and/or damp has risen by 20% to 186,000 - a national record to be ashamed of says Shelter Scotland.
In its annual report on the damaging effects of damp and cold on children’s health and education the housing charity highlights its fears that things will get worse as many more households across Scotland struggle to buy essentials and heat their homes.
Children living in a home with damp and condensation are at a higher risk of asthma and other respiratory problems and are more likely to suffer health-related absence from school.
One in five of all calls to Shelter Scotland’s free national advice helpline are about dampness and disrepair. It says that if politicians want to make good on their promises to tackle child poverty, a big improvement in the quality of housing children live in would make the world of difference.
In its report The Facts: bad housing and homelessness for children and young people in Scotland 2011 (1), Shelter Scotland shows:
- 186,000 children now live in a home with condensation or damp, or both – equivalent to every child in Edinburgh and Glasgow. [Up 20% from 155,000]
- Nearly one in five (179,000) children now live in fuel poverty – more than enough to fill Hampden Park stadium three times over - up from 128,000 last year. [A rise of 40%]
- One in ten children (96,000) also live in overcrowded homes in Scotland – meaning children live in two thirds of all overcrowded households.
- 60 children are made homeless each day (22,000 in total last year)
- 28 children under the age of five are made homeless each day.
Gordon MacRae, Head of Communications and Policy at Shelter Scotland says:
“Despite knowing that a warm, safe home is crucial to all aspects of a child’s wellbeing, we live in a Scotland where around one in five children still have to cope with waking up every day in cold, damp, overcrowded and dangerous homes.
“As the increased cost of living and steep rise in crippling fuel poverty hit home, things are set to get even worse, not better.
“The root cause is a lack of decent quality homes. The new Scottish Government must now fulfil its manifesto pledge and build, as a minimum, the 6,000 socially-rented council and housing association homes per year it promised.
“This is the only way of putting to an end the unacceptable living conditions we continue to force on our children and young people and would be a fundamental step forward in tackling child poverty.”
To help remedy the situation, Shelter Scotland makes several key recommendations, including:
- Build more good family homes in good communities – so that every child can have a good start in life.
- New minimum standards for temporary accommodation so that no-one waits for years in expensive B&Bs.
- End the cycle of repeat homelessness by making eviction by councils and housing associations a genuine last resort.
Notes to Editors:
1. The Facts Report can be found here: http://scotland.shelter.org.uk/professional_resources/policy_library/policy_library_folder/the_facts_bad_housing_and_homelessness_for_children_and_young_people_in_scotland_2011
2. Shelter Scotland, the housing and homelessness charity. Shelter Scotland believes that everyone should have a home. We help people find and keep a home. We campaign for decent housing for all.
3. Spokespeople are available for interview, telephone the media office on 0844 515 2442. An ISDN line number is available for broadcast interviews.
4. For more information about Shelter Scotland visit www.shelter.org.uk
5. Follow Shelter Scotland on Facebook - http://www.facebook.com/shelterinscotland Twitter – http://twitter.com/shelterscotland