Established 2005 Registered Charity No. 1110656

Scottish Charity Register No. SC043760

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Scotland’s B&B children

December 09 2011
 Plight of homeless children highlighted by Christmas appeal


Children across Scotland are suffering because they are being forced to live in unsuitable and dangerous housing throughout the winter, the country’s largest homeless charity has claimed.

Shelter Scotland is highlighting the plight of some 5,800 children who will spend the festive period in B&Bs or temporary flats as part of its Christmas campaign - No Room at the Inn. The charity says that most children who spend Christmas in temporary accommodation will still be there at Easter.

With the absence of statutory standards, Shelter believes that it is a ‘national shame’ that children are forced to live in poor and damp accommodation often resulting in them falling behind at school and potentially developing respiratory conditions like asthma.

They are often re-housed far from family and friends, isolated and effectively have to put their lives on hold, the charity claims.

Graham Brown, Director of Shelter Scotland said: “Too many children are stuck in temporary accommodation for too long and too often in dangerous circumstances. In Scotland, 60 children are made homeless every day - 22,000 last year. 5,800 will spend this Christmas in B&Bs or temporary flats.

“At a time when more people face losing their home due to increased unemployment and higher household bills we cannot stand by and watch the aspirations of another generation of Scots dashed by poor housing.”

A study carried out by the charity in 2009 highlighted an alarming 26% increase in the number of families with children in temporary accommodation and at present, only guidelines exist on the quality and management of properties being let to homeless households.

In 2004, the Scottish Parliament ruled that any accommodation used as temporary accommodation for families with children must meet certain basic standards. But a caveat allows families to be placed in unsuitable accommodation “in specific circumstances”.

The charity argues that this is not acceptable and is calling for the Scottish Government to introduce statutory standards in temporary accommodation.

The ‘No room at the Inn’ campaign got underway on 21st November and will see posters placed on a number of rail services throughout Scotland to encourage members of the public to sign a petition. This can be signed online or at four campaign days held across Scotland. The petition will then be presented to ministers at Holyrood.