Pauline McNeil: ‘Act to help families in temporary accommodation’


Calls for extra support to reduce families in temporary accommodation 

MORE ACTION is required to reduce the insecurity for people stuck in temporary accommodation, according to MSPs and the Scottish Government.

Scotland’s housing crisis, and its relationship with families stuck in temporary accommodation, was raised by Glasgow MSP Pauline McNeil at first minister’s questions today [Thursday 10 November] in the Scottish Parliament. 

McNeil asked the government what steps it was taking to reduce the number of children in temporary accommodation.

“Families with children spend the longest time in temporary accommodation, an average of 23 weeks.” Pauline McNeil

“Families with children spend the longest time in temporary accommodation, an average of 23 weeks,” she said. 

Sturgeon replied that numbers, although lower than in 2007, were “still too high”.

She said that the government will introduce a cap of one week for families in bed and breakfast style temporary accommodation. 

“We’re fully committed to the prevention of homelessness, and will deliver at least 50,000 affordable homes by the end of this parliament,” Sturgeon added. 

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Temporary housing is provided to individuals and families through homelessness support, while those involved wait on appropriate permanent homes. 

McNeil added: “I’m sure she’ll agree with me that the impact [of temporary accommodation] on children’s health, education, and wellbeing is affected by this. I wonder if the first minister would consider [in addition to the one week cap] two further steps that she could take.

“Firstly, to consider strengthening the statutory duty in the 2014 [Housing] Act – which gives reasons why families with accommodation should be housed as a matter of priority. 

“Secondly, since she mentions the target of 50,000 houses – which I welcome – will she consider that there are some kind of conditions on house builders on the types of houses we are going to build here with this target.”

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Sturgeon said she was “happy to give further consideration to both those suggestions”, and wanted to see a time when no one had to live in temporary accommodation.

Housing advocacy group Shelter Scotland have raised concerns over the number of families and children in temporary accommodation. 

Christine Grahame MSP warned that the cuts to social security support from the Tory government will cause an increase in homelessness, and the number in temporary accommodation. 

Picture courtesy of Scottish Parliament TV

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