Skip to main content
Shelter Logo

What is the housing emergency in Scotland?

1.5 million people are denied a safe, stable home. This is the housing emergency.

The housing emergency in Scotland is: 

  • 15,625 households in temporary accommodation.
    (Homelessness in Scotland: update to 30 September 2023)

  • 9,860 children in temporary accommodation.
    (Homelessness in Scotland: update to 30 September 2023)

  • 755,000 people unable to heat their homes.
    (YouGov Plc April 2021)

  • 1.5 million people living in overcrowded, dangerous, unstable or unaffordable housing.
    (YouGov Plc April 2021)

It’s more than rough sleeping.  

You don’t need to be on the streets to be homeless.  Sleeping on a friend’s sofa isn’t a home. A room in a hostel or dingy B&B isn’t a home. Families crammed into temporary housing, sharing bathrooms and kitchens with strangers, and sleeping and eating in one room, isn’t a home.  Too many people have no permanent home and live in limbo. 

It’s the chronic lack of good quality social housing. 

Private renters navigate a minefield of increasingly unaffordable rents and poor conditions. Families are cramped into overcrowded homes and we're forced to pay over the odds for damp, mouldy, or dangerous homes that are making us sick. The bottom line is the absence of good quality, affordable social housing is denying people across Scotland the chance of a decent home.   

It’s unjust.

Injustice is embedded in our broken and biased housing system.

If you have a disability, receive benefits, are a refugee, or a person of colour, you are more likely to face discrimination or struggle to find a decent home.

The pressures of our housing system push people to the brink, and life is made even more difficult by a welfare system that simply doesn’t provide enough support to people when they’re struggling. Too many people are going without meals to pay rent or remain trapped in an abusive relationship to avoid homelessness. 

This is a housing emergency.

The promises so far have not gone far enough. It’s time to demand our country declares a housing emergency.

Sign the Official Record of RAGE against the housing emergency

We’re here for everyone, but only with your support