‘Scan­dal’ of county’s 353 home­less young­sters

Rutherglen Reformer - - News - Dou­glas Dickie

Over 300 chil­dren in South La­nark­shire will be home­less this Christ­mas.

The shock­ing fig­ure was re­leased by Shel­ter Scot­land who say over 4000 young­sters across Scot­land will spend the win­ter in tem­po­rary ac­com­mo­da­tion.

Ac­cord­ing to Shel­ter Scot­land, 353 kids in the re­gion were in some sort of tem­po­rary ac­com­mo­da­tion by the end of June this year, up from 349 in March.

Only Glas­gow had more in the whole of Scot­land, with 1088 home­less kids.

Graeme Brown, Di­rec­tor of Shel­ter Scot­land, called on lo­cals to support the char­ity’s work.

He added: “No child should be home­less at Christ­mas but each De­cem­ber Shel­ter Scot­land’s helpline ad­vi­sors have to help hun­dreds of fam­i­lies at risk of los­ing their home.”

Ruther­glen MSP James Kelly de­scribed the sit­u­a­tion as an “ab­so­lute scan­dal,” and called on the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment to step in with Scot­land fac­ing a hous­ing cri­sis “not seen since the Sec­ond World War.”

He added: “De­spite this cri­sis 23,000 homes across the coun­try are ly­ing empty, and the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment’s own fig­ures have shown a 22 per cent drop in so­cial house build­ing in the last year.

“This can­not con­tinue to hap­pen. If we are se­ri­ous about fight­ing poverty and build­ing a bet­ter coun­try for ev­ery child in Scot­land we need a Na­tional Hous­ing Ac­tion Plan to de­liver more so­cial hous­ing where it is needed, to those who most need it.”

Hous­ing Min­is­ter Mar­garet Burgess said the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment would spend £10.1mil­lion in South La­nark­shire to­wards the pro­vi­sion of new af­ford­able homes next year.

She added: “This Gov­ern­ment has de­liv­ered more so­cial and af­ford­able houses in the last seven fi­nan­cial years than the pre­vi­ous ad­min­is­tra­tion did over a sim­i­lar pe­riod and we are us­ing in­no­va­tive ways to in­crease hous­ing sup­ply.

“We are in­vest­ing over £1.7bil­lion to de­liver our tar­get of 30,000 af­ford­able homes dur­ing the lifetime of this Par­lia­ment, work­ing with lo­cal au­thor­i­ties we are build­ing record num­bers of coun­cil houses, while we have abol­ished the Right to Buy which will pro­tect up to 15,500 so­cial homes from sale over the next ten years.”

South La­nark­shire Coun­cil say the num­ber of chil­dren ex­pe­ri­enc­ing hom­less­ness since 2009 has dropped by nearly a third while in the past year the num­ber of house­holds mak­ing a hom­less­ness ap­pli­ca­tion has de­creased by nine per cent.

An­nette Fin­nan, Head of Area Ser­vices at South La­nark­shire Coun­cil, said 1000 new, af­ford­able homes would be built over the next five years thanks to Gov­ern­ment fund­ing.

She added: “We are very aware of the im­pact home­less­ness has, par­tic­u­larly on chil­dren, and en­sure that we pro­vide both qual­ity tem­po­rary ac­com­mo­da­tion and ap­pro­pri­ate support ser­vices. In do­ing so, the coun­cil works with a range of spe­cial­ist support providers, in­clud­ing Shel­ter Scot­land.

“South La­nark­shire Coun­cil will con­tinue with our ef­forts to ad­dress the chal­lenges of high de­mand and a short­age of af­ford­able hous­ing in the area, through our fo­cus on home­less preven­tion and our hous­ing op­tions ap­proach, along with our in­vest­ment in new build.”

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