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The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

TFN is published by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, Mansfield Traquair Centre, 15 Mansfield Place, Edinburgh, EH3 6BB. The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation. Registration number SC003558.

Homelessness falls but not fast enough

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Housing bodies call from more action on homelessness despite 10% drop in new applications.

Fewer families in Scotland are becoming homeless and fewer children are living in temporary accommodation.

Quarterly figures released by the Scottish Government show there were 8,007 homelessness applications between October and December 2013, 10% lower than the same period in 2012.

We cannot afford to be complacent or lose sight of the fact that 6,635 households found themselves homeless in just three months - Graeme Brown

The number of families living in temporary accommodation also dropped to its lowest level for five years.

Families in temporary accommodation decreased by 3% during the year from 10,252 to 9,963.

Of these, 2,456 were households with children in temporary accommodation, a fifth lower than one year earlier.

Graeme Brown, director of Shelter Scotland, said: "It is welcome news that fewer families and individuals experienced the trauma of homelessness, which is testament to the hard work of teams of local housing officers across Scotland.

“It is also good news that the number of households in temporary accommodation – particularly those with children – continues to fall.

“However, despite Scotland’s progressive legislation on homelessness, it is still too high and we cannot afford to be complacent or lose sight of the fact that 6,635 households found themselves homeless in just three months.”

David Ogilvie, Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA) policy manager, said Scotland needs more social housing to accommodate homeless families.

“While we take encouragement from these statistics that the homelessness prevention policies and initiatives put in place by our members over recent years are continuing to bear fruit, the fact remains there is a chronic shortage of appropriate affordable rented housing across Scotland.

“Despite being faced with considerable budgetary pressures as a result of welfare reform, these figures at least suggest that Scotland's local authorities, working in collaboration with housing associations and co-operatives and other third sector partners, are doing their best to ensure that tenancies are sustained wherever possible.”