Charity warns of lack of support for homelessness services

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People across Scotland are falling through the gaps due to a lack of support for homelessness services, according to a report.

The study, by Shelter Scotland, indicated that 28,792 households were assessed as being homeless or were threatened with homelessness in 2017/18.

The households consisted of a total of 28,999 adults and 14,075 children.

The number of homeless applications (34,972) recorded this year represents a 1% increase (402) on 2016-2017.

The largest increases in applications were seen in North Ayrshire, Perth and Kinross and Aberdeen City.

Being “asked to leave” was given as the most common reason for making a homelessness application, making up a quarter of all applications.

A dispute within the household or a relationship breakdown was given as the second most common reason.

The charity warned that urgent action must be taken to prevent the situation from worsening, saying a lack of support and joined-up responses means some people who need help are being missed out.

The report cited some key challenges facing homeless people in Scotland, including mental health provision, loss of contact with local authorities over housing support and standards in temporary accommodation.

It also raised a need to tackle the gendered nature of homelessness, with 4,616 women under the age of 25 applying as homeless (29% of all female applications), compared with 4,268 men under 25 (22% of all male applications) over 2017-2018.

Graeme Brown, director of Shelter Scotland, said: “We know that there is a lot of excellent work being carried out by people working in homelessness services across Scotland and there is a commitment at national and local government levels to do more.

“However, this new analysis matches the experience of our frontline services, that mental health issues and complex needs among people presenting as homeless are on the rise and is of increasing concern to us.

“From health to housing support and homeless prevention services, significant investment and cross-organisational working is vital to help tackle many of the issues highlighted in the report.

“And of course, Scotland also needs to build enough social and affordable housing of the right sort in places where people want to live to meet growing demand.”

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