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Hundreds of thousands struggling to pay housing costs

Published: 8 January 2020

Hundreds of thousands struggling to pay housing costs

As 2020 begins, stark new analysis reveals hundreds of thousands of people in Scotland struggling on a knife edge to keep a roof over their heads.

Research by YouGov on our behalf found that 11% of mortgage holders/renters in Scotland - equivalent to nearly 180,000 households - were already struggling to pay their rent or mortgage and couldn’t afford any increase, while 14% would struggle to afford a modest rise of up to £25 per month.

The research also found that 28% of respondents were worried or very worried about paying their rent or mortgage during 2020.

One household was made homeless every 17.5 minutes in Scotland last year, with nearly 11,000 households forced to live in temporary accommodation, including more than 14,000 children.

Ignoring money worries rather than seeking advice could lead to people’s homes being put at risk.  Last year we helped tens of thousands of people via our national helpline, digital chat and online advice - with many of them needing advice on keeping their home. Our advisers are on-hand to help anyone worried about paying their housing costs, at risk of homelessness or struggling with bad housing.

Graeme Brown, Director of Shelter Scotland, said:

“These figures reveal the stark reality faced by hundreds of thousands of people in Scotland who enter 2020 already struggling to pay their rent or mortgage and many thousands more saying they would struggle with even a modest rise on those costs.

“Austerity, welfare cut, stagnant wages, job insecurity and the high cost of housing are making it harder for people to make ends meet and plan for the future. It is a national disgrace that in 21st Century Scotland so many people should still have to struggle and worry about the basic right of keeping a roof over their heads.

“Help is available. Don’t bury your head in the sand, speak to one of our advisers who can help you put a plan in place.”

Graeme Brown added:

“It is only because of generous support from the public that we can keep up our fight against bad housing and homelessness. People struggling can get help via our free national helpline or visit People who want to support our work can visit or text SHELTER to 70020 to donate £3. Thank you.”

Are you struggling with debt or worried about keeping up with your housing costs? 

Check the information on our advice pages.

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