Over 300 WL kids home­less

Politi­cians alarmed at shock stats

West Lothian Courier - - News - Sean O’Neil

West Loth­ian’s home­less­ness epi­demic has been laid bare as the num­ber of chil­dren liv­ing in tem­po­rary ac­com­mo­da­tion reached over 300 for the first time in 15 years.

As char­ity Shel­ter Scot­land take their Home­less­ness: Far From Fixed cam­paign to Holy­rood the true ex­tent of West Loth­ian’s home­less prob­lem is re­vealed.

Fig­ures re­leased by the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment show that be­tween March 2016 to March 2017 there were 1360 ap­pli­ca­tions un­der the Home­less Per­sons Leg­is­la­tion in the area.

The num­ber of house­holds liv­ing in tem­po­rary ac­com­mo­da­tion rose by 16 per cent to 413 and the num­ber of house­holds with chil­dren liv­ing in tem­po­rary ac­com­mo­da­tion rose by 36 per cent to 200 from the pre­vi­ous year.

Over­all there were 314 chil­dren liv­ing in tem­po­rary ac­com­mo­da­tion dur­ing this pe­riod - a rise of 31 per cent from the year be­fore and the first time the num­ber has reached over 300 since the fig­ures be­gan in 2002.

West Loth­ian MSPs met with Shel­ter Scot­land to dis­cuss their cam­paign and the mag­ni­tude of the prob­lem in West Loth­ian.

Neil Find­lay, Labour MSP for Loth­ian, said: “Home­less­ness con­tin­ues to blight our area. The work of or­gan­i­sa­tions like Shel­ter can only go so far. We need prac­ti­cal so­lu­tions to the num­ber of rough sleep­ers and peo­ple liv­ing in tem­po­rary ac­com­mo­da­tion in West Loth­ian.

“When the cam­paign launched 12 months ago it sounded an alarm, warn­ing that if ac­tion wasn’t taken, the progress on tack­ling home­less­ness dur­ing the last 10 years was at risk of be­ing un­done.”

An­gela Con­stance, SNP MSP for Al­mond Val­ley said: “I met with Shel­ter Scot­land last week to dis­cuss the causes of home­less­ness in West Loth­ian, a prob­lem be­ing made worse by the ever hard­en­ing grip of Tory aus­ter­ity.

“I don’t want to see any­one, es­pe­cially chil­dren, be­come home­less ( for what­ever rea­sons) and have to stay in tem­po­rary ac­com­mo­da­tion.

“Ev­ery­one de­serves a safe, warm and set­tled place to stay and the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment is com­mit­ted to end­ing home­less­ness.”

Shel­ter Scot­land’s Far From Fixed cam­paign sub­mit­ted rec­om­men­da­tions to the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment with de­mands in­clud­ing that no-one should ever have to sleep rough on Scot­land’s streets and that there is a safe and af­ford­able home for ev­ery­one.

Graeme Brown, direc­tor of Shel­ter Scot­land, said: “I am heart­ened to see MSPs, in­clud­ing Neil Find­lay, show sup­port for our cam­paign by tak­ing the time to talk to us in par­lia­ment and find out more about how the is­sue is af­fect­ing con­stituents.

“We are see­ing new steps be­ing taken, in­clud­ing the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment’s cre­ation of a £ 50 mil­lion ‘ End­ing Home­less­ness To­gether’ fund and the launch of an ac­tion group on home­less­ness but we re­ally need MSPs from across the po­lit­i­cal spec­trum to work to­gether with us to make an even big­ger dif­fer­ence.”

Ev­ery­one de­serves a safe, warm and set­tled place to stay MSP An­gela Con­stance

Wor­ry­ing Fig­ures show a rise in chil­dren liv­ing in tem­po­rary ac­com­mo­da­tion

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