‘Scandal’ of county’s 353 homeless youngsters
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.”