‘Tragedy’ as 2500 city kids are home­less

Evening Times - - NEWS - BY STE­WART PATERSON

AL­MOST 2500 chil­dren were reg­is­tered as home­less in Glas­gow last Christmas.

Of­fi­cial Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment sta­tis­tics show the city had the high­est num­ber out of 12,300 chil­dren who were in­cluded in live home­less ap­pli­ca­tions across Scot­land.

The numbers were re­leased in re­sponse to a ques­tion at the Scot­tish Par­lia­ment by the Lib­eral Democrats.

Ed­in­burgh City Coun­cil was the se­cond high­est with 2153 chil­dren in home­less ap­pli­ca­tions.

Out­side the two largest cities fig­ures dropped sharply, with South La­nark­shire Coun­cil hav­ing the third largest num­ber at 796.

Caron Lind­say, Scot­tish Lib­eral Demo­crat hous­ing spokes­woman, said the fig­ures were a ”tragedy”.

She said: “Hous­ing is a ba­sic hu­man need and it is a key re­spon­si­bil­ity of any gov­ern­ment to en­sure that peo­ple have a warm and se­cure home, es­pe­cially at this time of year.

“These new sta­tis­tics show that over 12,000 chil­dren – al­most the ca­pac­ity of the Hy­dro – are not so lucky.”

The stats come as Labour re­vealed a rise in peo­ple cit­ing mental health prob­lems as a rea­son for be­com­ing home­less, an in­crease of 99% in the five years up to 2018-19, to 6031.

Over the same pe­riod there was a 64% in­crease in the num­ber of peo­ple who be­came home­less be­cause of phys­i­cal health prob­lems, with this af­fect­ing 2340 peo­ple last year.

Com­mu­ni­ties spokes­woman, Pauline Mc­Neill, Glas­gow MSP, said: “The SNP’s lack of ac­tion on home­less­ness pre­ven­tion is dis­ap­point­ing. Lo­cal au­thor­i­ties are chron­i­cally un­der­funded mean­ing front­line ser­vices are strug­gling to cope with the de­mand for sup­port.”

She added: “The Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment’s com­mit­ment to rapid re­hous­ing is of course wel­come, but with­out in­vest­ment in pre­vent­ing home­less­ness the is­sue con­tin­ues to grow.”

The Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment how­ever, said it was in­vest­ing in initiative­s to re­duce home­less­ness and build more so­cial rented homes.

Hous­ing Min­is­ter Kevin Ste­wart said: “Scot­land has some of the strong­est rights in the world for any­one ex­pe­ri­enc­ing home­less­ness, in­clud­ing the right to emer­gency tem­po­rary ac­com­mo­da­tion when home­less.

“While this pro­vides an im­por­tant safety net, we are clear such ar­range­ments must be for as short a time as pos­si­ble and be of good qual­ity.

“That is why we have in­vested £32.5mil­lion into Rapid Re­hous­ing and Hous­ing First to min­imise the length of time peo­ple spend in tem­po­rary ac­com­mo­da­tion.

“We also changed the Un­suit­able Ac­com­mo­da­tion Or­der in 2017 so fam­i­lies with chil­dren and preg­nant women are only able to stay in ac­com­mo­da­tion such as B&Bs for a max­i­mum of seven days.”

Glas­gow had the high­est num­ber of chil­dren reg­is­tered as home­less in Scot­land, ac­cord­ing to the new fig­ures

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