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16,000 homeless kids: no more excuses, it’s time to act - Shelter Scotland reacts to latest homelessness stats

Posted 29 Aug 2023

Leading housing and homelessness charity Shelter Scotland has slammed government inaction on the housing emergency following the publication of shocking new homelessness figures. 

Statistics published by the Scottish Government today show that a record number of children became homeless this year and that families are facing unprecedentedly long stays in temporary accommodation. A record number of families and children are also living in temporary accommodation. 

The figures also show that local homelessness services are failing to meet their legal obligations, with many people entitled to temporary housing being turned away by councils or being housed in grim conditions unsuitable for their needs.

The charity said the figures were a direct result of decades of underfunding social homes and a consistent failure of governments to fix Scotland’s broken housing system.

Assistant Director, Gordon MacRae, said:

“These horrifying new figures add to the pile of mounting evidence that Scotland is in the grip of an unprecedented housing emergency. 

“For decades social housing has been neglected and this is the result; more than 16,000 children in Scotland became homeless this year, many of them spending years stuck in miserable temporary accommodation. 

“It is utterly shameful. 

“We have some truly fantastic housing rights on paper, but the fact is they’re being breached as a matter of course across the country, because there simply aren’t enough social homes. 

“There is no mystery surrounding the solution to this emergency, no need for more summits or round tables to puzzle out an answer. We need more social housing, and we need it now.

“The First Minister has repeatedly said that his mission in government is to end poverty, child poverty especially, in Scotland. There can be no hope whatsoever of achieving that aim unless he and his ministers commit to serious investment in delivering social homes. 

“The 16,000 kids in Scotland who are having their childhoods robbed can’t wait a second longer for politicians to get their act together.”

Notes to editors:

Key figures:  

  • 9,595 children in temporary accommodation as of 31 March 2023 (9% increase compared to the same date the year before).

  • 15,039 households in temporary accommodation as of 31 March 2023 (6% increase compared to the same date the year before). 

  • 3,525 breaches of Unsuitable Accommodation Order. 

  • Applications assessed as homeless or threatened with homelessness 32,242 in 2022/23. 10% increase to the year before.

  • Number of children associated with applications assessed as homeless or threatened with homelessness 16,263. 10% increase compared to year before.

  • Open homelessness cases – 29,652 open homeless applications, 15% increase on the year before.

Source: Homelessness in Scotland: 2022-23 homelessness in Scotland in the period from 1 April 2022 to 31 March 2023