Class and a half of schoolchildren made homeless every day in Scotland
Alarming new statistics show 38 children a day are being made homeless in Scotland.
New analysis shows that in 2017/18 a total of 14,074 children were classed as homeless - the equivalent to six or seven children in every Scottish school.
Shelter Scotland’s research also showed that on average homeless families with children were having to spend 25% longer living in temporary accommodation than households without children – 201 days compared to 161.
The analysis also showed that 13% of households spent more than a year in temporary accommodation.
Alison Watson, deputy director of Shelter Scotland, said: “The sheer scale of homelessness among children in Scotland is damning on our society. For the equivalent of a class and half of schoolchildren to be made homeless everyday just isn’t right.
“The fact families with children then have to endure the limbo of temporary accommodation longer than other homeless households just compounds their misery.
“This has got to stop. We must find ways of supplying enough permanent accommodation for homeless families and individuals.”
Shelter Scotland is also highlighting the effects homelessness can have on children and young people across areas of their lives - from health to education - leaving many children unable to realise their potential. These effects are more profound the longer a child is homeless, the charity warns.
Linda McDonald from Glasgow was in temporary accommodation for three years with her two teenage children. Most of the time in high-rise tower blocks.
She said: “I was terrified at the start. I was scared of the unknown. I had my son and my daughter as well and I was trying to do my best for them. I was somewhat of a nervous wreck when things were starting to happen that were out-with my control. I was just caught where I never thought I would be in that situation and it was sheer panic, sheer terror.”
Elaine Armitage from East Kilbride, experienced homelessness with her two children when her marriage broke-up. She had to fight to stay near her children’s schools and her support network.
“I had to get letters from my doctor, from schools, you name it to say that I had to stay in East Kilbride for family support because my son has Asperger’s and it would have been too disruptive to have to try and move him to another area, another school,” she said. “Plus, I’ve got fibromyalgia and my mum and dad really are my main support for the kids.
“We were in temporary accommodation. It was a roof over my head, but it wasn’t in an area I knew. You didn’t know how long you were going to be there. They couldn’t say a year, six months whatever.”
A spokesperson for the Scottish Government said: “We are clear that one person being made homeless is too many, particularly in households which include children. This is why preventing homelessness is one of our key priorities.
“While temporary accommodation provides an important safety net in emergency situations, we want any time there to be as short as possible."