Report highlights plight of increasing numbers of homeless in Scotland

Around 660 people sleep rough in Scotland each night. (Picture by Franco Folini/Flickr)
Around 660 people sleep rough in Scotland each night. (Picture by Franco Folini/Flickr)

More homeless people are having to stay for longer in unsuitable temporary accommodation in Scotland and growing numbers with mental health and substance abuse are sleeping rough.

Up to 11,000 households are in temporary accommodation at any one time and a shortage of affordable homes, rising demand and benefit cuts is keeping more of them from moving on.

Meanwhile, almost 5,000 adults sleep rough in Scotland each year, with about 660 on the streets on a typical night, the vast majority of them men.

Now, a new independent report funded by charity Crisis and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation warns that progress made by the Scottish Government in tackling homelessness could be undone by threatened welfare cuts and benefit sanctions, especially for young people.

The report found there was a marked upturn in local authority evictions in 2014/15, reflecting the rise in rent arrears at least in part due to welfare reform.

Glasgow continues to face exceptional challenges from the unusually high numbers of people with complex needs sleeping rough in combined with a shortage of temporary accommodation for single men.

Jon Sparkes, chief executive of Crisis, said: “The Scottish Government has blazed a trail when it comes to tackling homelessness, but there’s no room for complacency.”

The report calls for action to ensure no one is living in unsuitable temporary accommodation, particularly B&Bs, for more than 14 days.

“We’re calling for a new cross-departmental strategy to tackle homelessness and strengthen the role of prevention and early intervention, particularly for those affected by changes to the welfare system, and boost support for the hardest to help,” Mr Sparkes said.