Edinburgh homelessness: 2,265 children in temporary accommodation in Capital

Typically Edinburgh children in temporary housing are there for almost two years
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More than 2,000 children are stuck in temporary accommodation in Edinburgh as 2022 nears its end, according to official homelessness figures.

Lothian Labour MSP Sarah Boyack said the number of children staying in temporary accommodation across Scotland had soared to a "shameful" record high of 8,635. "That includes 2,265 children in Edinburgh – an increase of 20 per cent on the previous year and an appalling increase of 930 per cent since 2002." Only Glasgow has a higher figure with 2,825 children in temporary accommodation.

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Ms Boyack said that overall the length of time people have to spend in temporary accommodation had also been climbing year-on-year across Scotland, with families being hit hardest by long waits. In Edinburgh couples with children are now typically stuck in temporary accommodation for an average of 725 days - longer than in any other council area in Scotland.

The number of children in temporary accommodation in Edinburgh has increased by 930 per cent since 2002.The number of children in temporary accommodation in Edinburgh has increased by 930 per cent since 2002.
The number of children in temporary accommodation in Edinburgh has increased by 930 per cent since 2002.

Ms Boyack said: “It is nothing short of a national scandal. Things are at crisis point across Scotland, after years of neglect under the SNP. Leaving children stranded in limbo for so long will have a devastating effect on their wellbeing, attainment and life chances. The SNP need to act urgently to fix this shameful dereliction of duty and make sure families in Edinburgh have the safe, secure housing they need. It is appalling that children can be stuck in temporary accommodation for nearly two years.”

Earlier this month, the Evening News revealed people from Edinburgh were being sent to temporary accommodation as far away as Inverness, more than 150 miles from the Capital. Sources told of reports from people who had gone to the council for housing help being unable to get access to accommodation in the city, including families with children.

A council spokesperson said: “No child in Edinburgh will ever be left without a safe and secure place for them to stay with their family. Every family facing homelessness is supported and provided with temporary accommodation, until a more suitable, permanent new home can be found. The reason families are staying so long in temporary accommodation in Edinburgh is because we are experiencing really long waiting times for social homes. The Capital faces housing pressures like nowhere else in Scotland, with the lowest proportion of social housing in the country (16 per cent against the national average of 24 per cent) and the country’s biggest, most expensive, private rented sector. On average, every social home which becomes available in Edinburgh receives 150 bids.

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“To help us speed up the system, we’ve invested in a number of new employees who are dedicated to the work involved in moving people into permanent new homes more quickly, as well as preventing homelessness in the first place. We also have a minimum target of 70 per cent of all council homes which do become available being allocated to homeless households, and likewise half of all lets from social landlords are for people who are homeless.”