Over 300 WL kids homeless
Politicians alarmed at shock stats
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