More affordable housing and closer joint working needed to end homelessness
SFHA comments on the latest Scottish Government homelessness statistics
Responding to the latest homelessness and housing options statistics released yesterday (Tuesday 17 January) by the Scottish Government, the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA) said that not only do the figures show that more affordable housing is desperately required, there also needs to be closer working between the housing and health and social care sectors to improve tenancy sustainment.
Scottish local authorities received around 17,100 applications for homelessness assistance during April to September 2016, 3% lower than in the same period in 2015. However, the number of children in temporary accommodation increased by 826 children (+17%), comparing figures at 30 September 2016 with the same date one year ago.
There was a 21% increase in applicants citing mental health problems as a reason for failing to maintain accommodation and a 13% increase in those stating physical health problems.
Zhan McIntyre, SFHA Policy Lead, said:
“While we welcome the small drop in homeless applications, more needs to be done to prevent homelessness. The increase in the amount of children in temporary accommodation by 17% is alarming and shows that more affordable housing is desperately needed.
“Looking at the reasons applicants gave for failing to sustain accommodation, there was a 21% increase in applicants citing mental health problems and a 13% increase in those stating physical health problems – this suggests that the housing sector’s links with health and social care colleagues need to be strengthened.
“Everyone in Scotland should have a warm, safe, affordable home. In order to end the blight of homelessness in Scotland, not only do we need to increase the amount of affordable housing, but we need to work closer with stakeholders, such as the health and social care sector, so that we can focus on those most in need and help people to sustain their tenancy.”