Showing posts with label homelessness. Show all posts
Showing posts with label homelessness. Show all posts

Monday, December 17, 2012

One pay-cheque away from homelessness

A quarter of Scots families ‘one pay cheque away from homelessness’ according to Shelter if they happened to lose their job. Just over half (56%) of households would only be able to pay for their home for a maximum of three months.

As the rising cost of living and "severe" cuts to welfare benefits hit home, a lack of savings and the eroding housing safety net is putting more people at greater risk of being repossessed and evicted.

According to the charity, at least 5300 children in Scotland will be homeless this Christmas, often living in poor quality, damp and dangerous temporary accommodation.

Friday, November 09, 2012

a merry xmas?

Shelter Scotland has warned. that 5300 youngsters will wake up on Christmas Day in poor quality temporary accommodation with no prospect of a permament home.

 Shelter Scotland director Graeme Brown said: "It's easy to think of homelessness as single people sleeping rough. What people don't often consider is the rising numbers of families who, through no fault of their own, have lost their home and have no permanent roof over their heads. For people with children, sofa surfing with friends and family just isn't a realistic option and the temporary accommodation they are forced to stay in is often unsuitable and of poor quality."

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Hungry and Homeless in Scotland

According to the Office for National Statistics, food prices have risen by almost 5% in 12 months, but incomes have not kept pace. Anne Houston, chief executive of the charity Children 1st, warns that the number of people relying on handouts will rise as the economic situation worsens. She said: "One in five children in Scotland lives in poverty, which is unacceptable. As the cost of living rises, there is a real risk that more families could find themselves living in poverty."

The Trussell Trust, which runs the UK's only network of food banks, is helping to feed 6000 people in Scotland, and 129,000 people across the UK as a whole. Last year the Trussell Trust fed 2400 people in Dundee, 3362 in the Highlands and 375 people at its centre in Glasgow, which opened in December.

John Dickie, from the Children's Poverty Action Group in Scotland, said: "This is an indictment of government policy and shouldn't be seen as an alternative to the kind of national action we need to prevent children and families living in poverty."


A decent home is the top priority for Scots, according to a recent poll. But with thousands of people making homeless applications and waiting on council lists for a permanent home, it is an ambition which is far out of reach for many. Demand for housing is predicted to increase over the next two decades, with a rising population and more people living alone or in small households. Changes to housing benefits being introduced by the UK Government could lead to increased arrears and evictions, as thousands of already struggling Scots are pushed deeper into poverty. The economic crisis has brought a tide of rising unemployment, government cutbacks and soaring costs of living, leaving many families struggling to hang on to their home. One recent survey found one in seven people in Scotland are now relying on credit cards and overdrafts to pay their mortgage or rent. An investigation by Shelter Scotland found 26 out of 30 letting agents charged upfront fees for reference checks, credit checks and "general administration", which ranged from £16.80 to £180. Graeme Brown, Shelter Scotland's director, said such issues were creating a "toxic brew" for the housing market.

There are 160,000 people on council waiting lists, over 40,000 people assessed as homeless, and about 10,000 households in temporary accommodation across Scotland just now. Since the onset of the financial crisis, around 26,000 jobs directly linked to the home-building industry in Scotland have been lost. The number of new homes built has fallen from around 26,000 in 2007 to just over 11,000 in 2010. 23,000 privately-owned unoccupied homes across Scotland which have been lying abandoned for six months or more.

"We do a lot of family support work and kids say they want somewhere safe and secure to live – not just in terms of a house but the neighbourhood," Shelter said. "They want somewhere permanent, somewhere they can call home. It is not a bad aspiration to have."

Friday, November 04, 2011

Fact for Today

Every day in Scotland 60 children become homeless – that is nearly 22,000 a year.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

empty houses and homeless

About 23,000 houses are lying empty across Scotland, while more than 160,000 households are stuck on waiting lists for properties, according to Shelter. There are over 840,000 empty homes in the UK.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

losing homes

Repossession numbers began to rise again during the early part of 2011, jumping by 15%. A total of 9,100 properties were taken over by lenders during the three months to the end of March, according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders.

The group has predicted that a total of 40,000 people will lose their homes this year, up from 36,300 in 2010, due to the squeeze on household incomes as a result of the combination of rising taxes and living costs and slow wage growth. Around 166,900 people were in arrears of at least 2.5% of their outstanding loan at the end of March.

Industry commentators have also warned that Government initiatives to help keep people in their homes may simply be delaying a spike in repossession numbers.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

A warning from Shelter

Scots are having to work longer hours and even move in with friends to help make ends meet.

Shelter estimated that 9% of people in Scotland have had to increase their work hours or take on a second job, compared with the British average of 7%.

Some 4% of respondents in Scotland said they had moved in with family or friends, double the 2% average across Britain.

The survey of 2,234 people across the UK also indicated that around two million people paid their rent or mortgage with credit cards over a year. The charity said the proportion was equivalent to about 5% on average in Scotland and across Britain.

Graeme Brown, director of Shelter Scotland, said:
"A reliance on high-interest options such as credit cards to pay rent or a mortgage is a highly dangerous route to go down and is known to contribute toward uncontrolled debt, repossession or eviction and, eventually, homelessness. It is also very worrying that thousands of people in Scotland are being forced to move in with family or friends and that many more are having to take on extra hours and or a second job just to make ends meet.As we brace ourselves for the full impact of savage cuts to jobs and housing benefits, we are very concerned that more people are going to face even greater debt and the threat of homelessness."

Monday, March 29, 2010

scots blues

Sixty children are forced out of their homes in Scotland every day. The Sunday Herald can reveal that 22,000 young people each year have the roof pulled from over their heads by a state that simply cannot cope with the scale of our homelessness problem. Young families are disproportionately affected by homelessness, and nearly half of all homeless children are aged five or under.

While many might be tempted to dismiss homelessness as a problem for drug addicts and alcoholics. Shelter said that it is in fact far more wide-ranging than the public realises.“It’s hidden, and people don’t know the true scale,” said Jessie Crawford, author of the new report. “This is tens of thousands of children waking up every day in cold, damp, overcrowded homes, or with the uncertainty of being homeless, and not knowing whether they’re going to get somewhere to live."

One in every ten children – 128,000 in total – is living in fuel poverty, the report said, with their families struggling to heat their homes through winter.

Friday, March 27, 2009

forgotten victims

Charities estimate that more than 8,000 buy-to-let properties could be repossessed in the coming year, with at least 10,000 people being made unexpectedly homeless. In some cases families are given no warning at all, sometimes returning home to find locks had been changed and their possessions out on the street.In one instance a family had to spend the night sleeping in their car, before being moved into emergency hostel accommodation.

Shelter chief executive Adam Sampson said "Tenants who have kept their side of the bargain by paying their rent are being thrown out on to the street because their landlords have defaulted on the mortgage."
Leslie Morphy, of Crisis, said "We risk forgetting that tenants of private landlords are extremely vulnerable to the recession,"

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Homelessness and hopelessness

Sixty children become homeless in Scotland every day, according to housing campaigners Shelter. A study by the charity suggested 22,000 young people a year were affected by homelessness and poor housing - enough to fill every secondary school in Fife. The number of homeless families with children rose by 18% over five years. The report also found a 27% increase in the number of families with children in temporary accommodation over three years.

Shelter Scotland's director Graeme Brown said: "A decent, warm, safe home is crucial to all aspects of children's well being. Yet the facts show thousands of Scotland's children have to wake up every day in cold, damp, overcrowded homes, uncertain about their future."

In a separate study, researchers from Glasgow University suggested homeless people were four times more likely to die prematurely. More than 6,000 homeless adults in Glasgow were tracked over a five-year period and their mortality compared with 13,500 non-homeless residents. By the end of the study, 7% of the homeless group had died compared to 2% of the non-homeless group. The most common causes of death among the homeless subjects were drugs, alcohol, circulatory diseases and suicide.
Dr David Morrison, from the research group, said: "This study has shown we have a large population of young, vulnerable homeless people who are in terrible health."

The study indicated Glasgow residents living in the most deprived areas were three times more likely to die than their affluent counterparts. Being homeless increased the risk of death another threefold.

Monday, December 22, 2008

homes for the homeless

Action is needed to free up empty houses for homeless people, says the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors. The Royal Institution said there were about 762,635 properties in England not being used.
England has nearly 1.7 million people on social housing waiting lists, the Local Government Association says. About 72,000 are either homeless or in temporary accommodation.

Policy officer James Rowlands of RICS said:
"Thousands of homes should not be allowed to stand empty while people are homeless or suffering from poor living conditions."

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

40 years of Shelter

Shelter , the campaign organisation which was formed to combat homelessness commemerates its 40th anniversary . 40 years on and still they concede that homelessness is a problem thats not been solved by reforms and legislation .

"I think it would be fair to say this: there was a housing crisis in 1966-1968 when Shelter Scotland was founded and we have today, sadly, a housing crisis of a different nature, but one which impacts on people's lives in really quite harmful ways...." Graeme Brown, director of Shelter Scotland conceded .

As William Morris once wrote "The palliatives over which many worthy people are busying themselves now are useless because they are but unorganised partial revolts against a vast, wide-spreading, grasping organisation which will, with the unconscious instinct of a plant, meet every attempt at bettering the conditions of the people with an attack on a fresh side."

According to the Financial Services Authority (FSA), which said 11,054 homes were taken in the three months to the end of June, compared with 6,476 during the same period of 2007. A total of 312,000 people were in mortgage arrears at the end of the second quarter , a 16 per cent jump on the same period of 2007.

H0me repossession cases have doubled in Scotland since the start of the credit crunch says the Scotland on Sunday

Friday, January 04, 2008

Definitely not for the homeless

House hunting for a new home ??

Some buyers are looking for a house they can make their mark on, others are looking for a home that has already been renovated to the highest standard. This traditional Victorian stone villa in the perennially popular Grange area is in the latter category. From the outside, it has a traditional appearance, but the inside has been made over with a light, contemporary feel and state-of-the-art fixtures and fittings. It has a cinema room and substantial Victorian conservatory, and a guest flat was recently added above the triple garage.SOLD FOR £3,500,000 (April 07)

A former architect's office over seven floors, this property was converted by its former owners into a family home. The house is now one of the biggest in the West End of Edinburgh and includes a fully-equipped gym with stunning panoramic views over the city. The garden looks out on to Dean Village and the Water of Leith, while the front of the house has views of the castle. Converting former offices into top end residential homes is one of the big trends at the top end of the market.Blair Stewart, who is head of residential sales for Strutt and Parker, said: "The beauty of the West End is the easy access to the financial district and to the airport."SOLD FOR £3,500,000 (Jan 07)

Buyers are sometimes willing to pay a premium for homes that have not been modernised and renovated to someone else's taste – which is one of the reasons this Edwardian property raised more than a million over the asking price.Properties in Hermitage Drive come on the market rarely and before it went up for sale, Allanton, built in 1904, had been in the same family for 40 years. A fine redstone property, it still retained a lot of the original features but was ripe to be renovated. It also features a ground-floor annexe.SOLD FOR £3,729,500, Oct 2007

The fashion here is for huge American-style modern mansions, but there are a few older homes from the 1920s when the street was originally built.Green Gables, a large traditional family home, which dates from that period, is on one of the biggest plots on this private road, which enjoys a peaceful wooded setting.Recently sold, it is likely to be extensively remodelled or perhaps even demolished if the buyers want a home to compete with the vast marble mansions of their nearest neighbours.SOLD FOR £3,750,000 (Sept 07)

Caledonian Crescent, overlooking the famous golf course, is the new must-have address for Scotland's multimillionaires.Built in 2004, Strathearn Lodge is, by our reckoning, the most expensive modern home in Scotland. With marble floors and a bright airy feel, it has everything the modern tycoon needs, with four huge bedroom suites, a games room, cinema and built-in three-car garage. Homes in this private crescent benefit from high security, with houses hidden behind huge hedges and electronic gates. SOLD FOR £3,750,000 (Dec 07)

There were people who said David Murray had paid over the odds for Woodcroft when he bought it at the end of 2006. But he proved them wrong by selling ten months later at a big profit. The official sale of Barnton Avenue came on the same day as The Scotsman concluded its series of Scotland's most expensive homes in 2006 – so it was too late to make our list. But at the time, it broke all records as Scotland's first £4 million home.The new buyer was rumoured to be an Edinburgh businessman.SOLD FOR £4,500,000 (Oct 06)

A Fife property record was set at the end of last year with the sale of 16th- century Fordell Castle, which has been renovated to become a luxurious family home –owning it also traditionally confers the title of Baron and Baroness of Fordell. Set in 210 acres of woodland and formal gardens, it has an imposing great hall and oak-panelled bedrooms. Set in the gardens is St Theriot's private chapel, an aviary and an icehouse. Although both the castle and the chapel are A listed the building has been remodelled and modernised. SOLD FOR £3,850,000 (Nov 07)

Secluded, private and with views across to the Pentland Hills, Easter Belmont Road is one of Edinburgh's most sought after addresses. In the words of Simon Rettie, of Rettie and Co: "This is the most exclusive residential street in Edinburgh."This property, which came on to the market a few months ago, is a large arts and crafts period family home, set in extensive grounds. The property needed renovation but attracted so much interest from buyers that it was able to attract a record price.SOLD FOR £4,875,000 (Sept 07)

The arts and crafts mansion on Edinburgh's "Millionaire's Row" was the first property in Scotland to break the £4 million barrier, when it was bought by Rangers chairman Sir David Murray at the end of 2006. But he never lived in the six-bedroom house, and it was sold ten months later for a £450,000 profit. Barnton Avenue is a secluded, tree-lined street with views over the Royal Burgess golf course. Popular with bankers and industrialists because of its proximity to the airport, it includes many huge family homes.SOLD FOR £4,950,000 (Aug 07)

Built by classical architect Robert Adam using the stones of the ruined Seton Palace, this grand Georgian, 14-bedroom house, formerly owned by the Wemyss family, was extensively refurbished by an Edinburgh entrepreneur, who put it on the market for £15 million, hoping to attract an overseas buyer. After two years, the price was reduced to £7 million and more recently to £5 million, when it was snapped up by Stephen Leach and Heather Luscombe, founders of internet marketing company Bigmouthmedia.The four-storey house has a gallery, library, billiards room, nursery and staff quarters, which include a laundry room and butler's pantry. It is set in 13 acres of wooded parkland, overlooking the Firth of Forth and includes stabling for six horses, a coachman's cottage and the ruins of a medieval mill.SOLD FOR £5,000,000 (February 2007)

The criteria for what constitutes prime property is gradually changing, from homes above £1 million to those costing more than £2 million.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

The property ladder

Research by the Bank of Scotland, found that young people faced a financial struggle to own property, with the average price paid by first-time buyers soaring 113% from £57,929 in 2002 to £123,213 this year. With the threshold set at £125,000, many first-time buyers paying more than the average price of £123,213 will have to find an extra 1% of their property price on stamp duty.
The average property is now out of reach of first-time buyers in 95% of places, according to the fifth annual First Time Buyer Review. Edinburgh and Helensburgh are the least affordable places for first-time buyers and properties there are 8.2 and 7.5 times the average income of a first-time buyer household. The deposit required by first-time buyers has soared 238% since 2002 and the average amount put down for a first property in Scotland is £25,951 - 95% of an average full-time worker's salary. Five years ago it was only 35% of an average worker's full-time earnings.

"It is beyond the reach of people who are earning between £12,000 and £16,000 a year to save up for that kind of deposit. " Peter Kelly, director of the Poverty Alliance said. "People are putting themselves in more risky positions and it will be people who are on the low end of the income scale who will pay the price for that."

Housing charity Shelter Scotland said that an additional 30,000 affordable rented homes, not including general housebuilding, were needed by 2011. It said that more than 200,000 people were on waiting lists and 9000 households were in temporary accommodation in March this year.

For a socialist take on housing read Building Profits Versus Building Houses

And for a more recent article on the house property price bubble read here

Nor should we think of the lack of shelter as just a Scottish problem , of course .

A man, believed to be in his sixties, was found dead on a wooden pallet in the Place de la Concorde in the heart of Paris victims of homelessness and the cold . Another man, 62, was found dead in his car in Vanves, just west of the capital. The deaths have provoked new quarrels over the alleged failure of successive governments to provide lodgings for France's alleged 200,000 homeless people. One pressure group, Les Morts de la Rue (the dead on the street), claimed that at least 200 people, between 18 and 80, had died prematurely while sleeping rough in France in the past 12 months.

Jean-Paul Bolufer, the head of the private office of the Housing minister, Christine Boutin , said last month that it was "scandalous" that some relatively wealthy people lived in subsidised, publicly owned housing while others lived on the streets. a newspaper revealed that he was paying 1,200 Euros (£870) a month rent – a quarter of the market price – for a 190 square metre apartment in an upmarket area of the Left Bank. There were at "least 200,000" other well-off people living in subsidised flats in Paris, he said.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

The usual Xmas story

A shortage of affordable housing has left 130,000 children homeless in England this Christmas – an increase of 128 per cent in the past decade, according to research by the shadow housing minister Grant Shapps.

The Tories claim the impact of homelessness on children goes beyond the misery of not having a permanent roof above their heads, making them far more likely to suffer from medical and social problems. The "social failure" of child homelessness is often followed by mental, physical and educational disadvantage. A homeless child is twice as likely to be admitted to an Accident & Emergency department, four times as likely to have respiratory infections and six times as likely to suffer speech impediments, as a child with a fixed address.

Director of the homeless charity the Simon Community, welcomed the report and its conclusions, saying: "What children need is a stable, healthy environment with people who love them, but also where they aren't constantly moving from one piece of low-quality housing to another, or have the threat of that hanging over them, because the housing stock in the UK is so desperately limited."

Mr Shapps said: "For 130,000 homeless children in England, this Christmas is unlikely to be much fun... "

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Christmas Good Cheer

The Herald reports that food prices are set to rise around the globe after years of decline, with climate change making it harder for the world's poorest to get adequate food . Rising global temperatures as well as growing food consumption in rapidly developing countries such as China and India are pressuring the world food system, meaning that prices will rise for the foreseeable future, according to the International Food Policy Research Institute. In addition, switching to crops used for biofuels will also reduce the amount of available food and increase prices

Hunger and malnutrition could rise as poor agricultural communities most sensitive to the environment, such as in Africa, are affected. Dependency on food imports will also increase as cereal yields decline in poorer countries. The world's agricultural production is projected to decrease by 16% by 2020 due to global warming, the report said, with land used for certain crops shrinking.

And we have the Independent reporting that the World's wealth already cannot provide for all its population and it is making the customary Christmas appeal for charity and alms .

Even in this supposed rich developed country there are tens of thousands of homeless yet according to Empty Homes Agency, a campaigning charity there are currently 663,000 wasted empty homes in England .

There are three main reasons for these 663,000 empty homes:-

First group have small-scale owners who've let the properties fall into disrepair, or have bought/inherited them in that state. But they don't have the time or the means, and so nothing is done year after year.

The second group are a consequence of property speculation. They are new-builds bought for investment. People buy off-plan with the intention to sell, will wait for their high expectations to be met rather than to accept what they're worth now or to rent them out. They'll gamble for big returns in the future rather than settle for a small but good income now .

The third group are publicly owned such as the Ministry of Defence or local authorities compulsory-purchasing homes with a view to regeneration. But some of those regeneration projects take forever, and in the meantime, homes that could be put to good use are sitting vacant.

Meanwhile between July 2005 and June 2006 139,760 were found to be homeless and the rate of homelessness in London is twice as high as the rest of England with over 50,000 homeless households. In Scotland , the number of households officially recognised as newly homeless in 2005/06 was 40,000.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

When helping can be a crime

Councillors in London are embroiled in a growing row over whether to ban the distribution of free food on public land, which could signal the end of soup runs for the capital's homeless.The idea – contained in the London Local Authorities Bill to be presented to Parliament in a fortnight – has been put forward by Westminster City Council, which claims the much-needed charitable services cause "public order issues". If the ban is approved, all those distributing free food to London's hungry will be breaking the law. The move would not include corporations wishing to promote their products by giving out free refreshments.

Luke Evans, a policy officer at Housing Justice, the charity which oversees soup runs in the capital said: "These people could be left on the streets to die. But, more than anything, it is a philosophical principle that you should be able to care for your fellow human beings. They are penalising people who are trying to help.There is a danger that people will starve... "

Shelter, the housing charity, said: "Proposing to stop acts of charity and kindness by a legally enforceable ban is against the principles of tolerance, freedom and understanding which underpin British society...Shelter is calling on London's council bosses to show compassion and moral leadership by deleting this inhumane clause from the Bill."

Westminster City Council's cabinet member for housing, the Conservative councillor Angela Harvey, claimed the distribution of free food was causing a "nuisance"

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Victory for the Scottish Homeless

The number of people having their homes repossessed has surged, the Council of Mortgage Lenders has said. An estimated 14,000 properties were repossessed in the first six months of the year, a 30% increase on the same time last year.

Scotland have won the Homeless World Cup.

Every cloud has a silver lining , hasn't it ?