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Impact report reveals demand for help higher than ever

Published: 21 September 2018

Impact report reveals demand for help higher than ever

New figures reveal the scale of Scotland’s national housing emergency, with 21,290 people receiving help from our housing advice and support services last year – more than ever before.

Our Annual Impact Report 2017/18 shows 46% of our clients were aged 16-34 years old. It also shows that 36% of our clients were private renters – a disproportionately high number compared to the size of the private rental sector, which makes up just 15% of all housing in Scotland.

Clients were helped via our free national helpdesk, digital chat service and one-to-one advice sessions. There were also 894,025 unique visits to our online advice pages in Scotland.

The main reason people gave for needing help (46%) was ‘keeping their home’ i.e. struggling to afford their housing costs or facing eviction. 32% of people who came to us last year wanted help to ‘find a home’ - including advice and assistance with homelessness. Of those seeking help, 58% were female and 42% male.

Graeme Brown, Director of Shelter Scotland, said:

“Last year we had to help more people than ever before, which is why, in our 50th anniversary year, we’re not celebrating. We thought that by now bad housing and homelessness would be largely a thing of the past, but instead, as this report clearly shows, our services are needed more than ever.

“The report shows once again the disproportionate impact of Scotland’s housing crisis on young people and private renters who are both over-represented in the number of people we helped.

“An acute shortage of truly affordable homes, harsh welfare reforms, stagnant wages and the high cost of keeping a roof over their head are the main reasons driving people to ask for help.

“Struggling to afford or pay housing costs is the biggest presenting problem people have when coming to us for help.”

Graeme Brown adds:

“Scotland’s housing statistics speak for themselves - on average, a household becomes homeless every 18 minutes.  Rough sleepers are dying on our city streets and the number of homeless children is at a 10-year high. Unknown numbers are sofa surfing with friends and families as they don’t have, or cannot afford, a home of their own.

“Behind those statistics are people, families, individuals – people on low incomes, people with complex needs, people in crisis - some of the most vulnerable people in our society.

“These are the people we help day-in, day-out and, until there’s a decent, safe and secure home for everyone, we’ll carry on fighting for everyone in Scotland facing bad housing and homelessness.”

Graeme Brown concludes:

“Our Impact Report also shows the tremendous amount of work that we do behind the scenes to ensure that housing policy in Scotland is robust and protects as many people as possible from bad practice – such as the 21 policy papers we published last year and the 1,831 people we trained on housing law and practice.

“And along with 12 campaign days in towns and cities throughout Scotland and promoting the new Private Rented Tenancy in partnership with the Scottish Government, it’s been an incredibly busy year and the next 12 months is set to be more of the same.

“We thank all our supporters, volunteers and staff for ensuring we can carry-on delivering the vital support and advice to the people who need us most.”

Download the full report from our Policy Library.

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