Established 2005 Registered Charity No. 1110656

Scottish Charity Register No. SC043760

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Concerned citizens

May 24 2009
Citizens Advice Scotland dealt with 8,000 queries about "actual or threatened homelessness" in the last financial year Citizens Advice Scotland has reported a serious rise in queries over homelessness. In the last financial year advisers at offices across Scotland dealt with 8,000 queries. Citizens Advice Scotland spokesman said the 8,000 cases involved "actual or threatened homelessness" and that the numbers had doubled in the past nine years. Figures show that the organization is now dealing with 150 new cases related to homelessness a week. By the time people come to Citizens Advisor, according to Citizens Adviser Vincent Chuddy, "they are at an advanced stage of debt" - although he added that it's never too late to do something about it. As a reaction to reports, Citizens Advice Scotland has called on the Scottish Government and local authorities to work together. A Scottish Government spokesman said: "This government is doing all it can to meet the 2012 homelessness target and help those facing the threat of repossession as the economic recession bites." He said an extra ¬¨¬£10m had been invested in a fund to help homeowners struggling with mortgage repayments. The government had also put ¬¨¬£2.4m into projects across Scotland to help improve the lives of people who were homeless or at risk of losing their home. "We are bringing forward legislation and guidance to ensure more effective prevention of homelessness." Scotland can still meet its target of abolishing homelessness, despite an increase in the number of people losing their homes because of repossession. The 2012 Homelessness Target is the Scottish government's legislation stating, that everyone who is homeless would have the right to a permanent home by 2012. Currently, only people designated to be in ‚Äö?Ñ??priority need' - generally families with children - have the right to permanent homes. Everyone else has access to only temporary accommodation and support. After revealing the Citizens Advice reports, Housing charity Shelter Scotland has organized a one-day conference, held in Edinburgh on 5th February 2009, to discuss what can be done to prevent people from homelessness. Speaking ahead of the conference, Shelter Scotland director Graeme Brown said: "Avoiding homelessness, particularly in these uncertain times, is a priority not just for those families who face the prospect of losing their home but also to make sure Scotland lives up to its international reputation and meets the 2012 homelessness target."
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