Pandemic scandal of almost 8,000 Scots children made homeless


Thousands of children were made homeless during the pandemic, according to shock new figures branded a “national disgrace.”

At one stage, almost 8000 children were without a roof over their head and forced to live in temporary accommodation such as hostels and B&Bs.

Housing campaigners have reacted with concern to the latest figures and have called for the building of more affordable homes to keep kids off the streets.

Alison Watson, director of Shelter Scotland, said: “It is a national disgrace that thousands of households and more than 7,500 children are stuck in temporary accommodation.

“Everyone has a right to a permanent home and temporary accommodation can never be an adequate substitute. Increasing the supply of social housing will tackle the root causes of homelessness.”

Alison Watson said: “It is a national disgrace
Alison Watson said: “It is a national disgrace”

In March 2019 the number of children without a home was 6795 but by September 2020, following six months of lockdown, that had shot up to 7900.

The figures – from the Scottish Government – ​​show a small drop towards the end of that year but a second dramatic surge in 2021.

The number of homeless children up to last September stood at 7510, having increased from 7365 in June and 7130 in March.

Overall, the number of children made homeless in the last three years and then placed in temporary accommodation – usually with
parents or family members – has gone up by 10%.

Separate Scottish Government stats show that between April and September 2021 there were 14,161 homeless households in Scotland – an increase of three per cent from the same period in 2020.

Scottish Labour’s deputy leader Jackie Baillie said: “It is extremely worrying as we know children will be badly affected by this increase in homelessness. Young people have gone through enough. We must do our very best to protect them at all costs.

“Councils must be given the tools and the investment to intervene at an earlier stage to prevent homelessness from happening in the first place.”

Jackie Baillie said: “It is extremely worrying
Jackie Baillie said: “It is extremely worrying”

Sean Clerkin, of the Scottish Tenants Organisation, said: “There has been a scandalous increase in the number of children becoming homeless in Scotland and forced to live in often sub-standard temporary accommodation which is overcrowded and therefore detrimentally affecting their physical and mental health .

“It is time for the Scottish Government to rapidly increase local authority funding to ensure these children are settled into permanent homes that are warm, dry and secure.”

Sean Clerkin said:
Sean Clerkin said: “There has been a scandalous increase in the number of children becoming homeless in Scotland”

There was also a rise in the number of people sleeping rough last year, up from 509 cases in June to 569 in September.

The largest number of homeless people is in Glasgow. It saw a 28% increase in cases, with the city now accounting for one in five homeless households nationally.

West Dunbartonshire and north Ayrshire had the biggest rise in homelessness in 2021.

Social Justice Secretary Shona Robison said: “The number of households in temporary accommodation is too high.

“We are consulting on plans to introduce new legal duties on public bodies, landlords and local authorities to act sooner to prevent somebody becoming homeless.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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