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Huge increase in the number of Scots requiring crisis grants to avoid rough sleeping

Figures from April 2017 to March 2018 show that applications for crisis grants increased by over 9,000.

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Scottish Welfare Fund statistics from the Scottish Government show that tens of thousands of people in Scotland are relying on crisis grants to survive.

The figures, which are from the year April 2017 to March 2018, show that applications for crisis grants increased by over 9,000 over the past year, with a total of 174,155 applications made.

The figures also show a 46% increase in the recorded reason for applying for a crisis grant as being “emergency – nowhere to stay and may resort to rough sleeping”. This has more than doubled in the last two years.

A 27% increase in applications due to benefit payment delays also reflects SFHA’s concerns regarding Universal Credit, especially since the system has not yet been fully rolled out.

Commenting on the figures, SFHA Policy Advisor Jeremy Hewer said:

"Housing associations in Scotland have on average some of the lowest rents in the UK and they also go to considerable lengths to work with both the DWP and with individuals to ensure that tenancies are sustained. They are also working to help build the Scottish Government's target of 50,000 affordable homes over the course of the current parliament.

"What these figures show is that whilst these measures help address the challenges of homelessness, they are only the start. The Scottish Government needs to commit to a continuing programme of building affordable housing in 2021 and beyond."