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Hundreds of Fife children homeless as pressure for permanent homes rises

Hundreds of children and their families are in temporary accommodation due to homelessness.
Hundreds of children and their families are in temporary accommodation due to homelessness.

Hundreds of children in Fife are living in temporary accommodation due to homelessness as Fife Council admits huge strain on housing services.

There are currently 157 families and 342 children living in statutory temporary accommodation in the kingdom, according to housing services manager Gavin Smith.

And it is a recurring trend as figures obtained through a freedom of information request revealed 415 children were without a permanent home in November, and 427 in October.

It takes approximately 254 days for a couple with children to be moved out of their temporary accommodation, while single parents in Fife spend an average of 163 days on the housing list.

It is wrong that so many children are being denied their right to a warm, secure and permanent home.”

Alison Watson, director of Shelter Scotland

Alison Watson, director of Shelter Scotland, said temporary accommodation can be “incredibly disruptive” for families.

She said: “These lengthy stays in temporary accommodation can be incredibly disruptive and it is wrong that so many children are being denied their right to a warm, secure and permanent home.

“It’s an intolerable situation brought about by decades of under-investment in social housing.

“By building more social homes we can address the root cause of homelessness, tackle child poverty and ensure that children in Fife have the permanent homes they need.”

Mr Smith said the issue is increasing each year and has been worsened by the pandemic.

He commented: “Despite having built thousands of new homes in Fife over the last 10 years, we are experiencing huge pressure on our housing stock.

“This pressure is increasing year on year and has increased significantly during the pandemic.

“There are currently just under 1,800 households in temporary situations in Fife waiting for an offer of housing due to homelessness.

It is a priority to find permanent homes for the 157 families and 342 children currently living in statutory accommodation.”

Gavin Watson, Housing services manager at Fife Council.

“This is a significant increase on previous years. 930 families are in temporary accommodation which is mainly scatter flats in the community but some are in other forms of accommodation for longer than we would like due to significant pressures on the service.”

A scatter flat is a single occupancy which offers families their own living space where they are not required to share communal or cooking areas.

But some families in homeless housing are required to share some facilities with other households.

Temporary homes however must meet certain criteria, including private bedrooms.

Efforts have been made to offer more homes to those in need with the addition of more than 250 units since March 2020.

A limited use of hotel and B&B facilities have also been required by the local authority.

Mr Smith added: “We are working to increase housing opportunities, in difficult circumstances, with a current focus on homelessness and families in temporary accommodation.

“It is a priority to find permanent homes for the 157 families and 342 children currently living in statutory accommodation as well as other living in insecure housing circumstances that have chosen not to take up temporary accommodation.”

There are also more than 15,000 households on the Fife housing register who, while not homeless, are looking for a council property.

Homeless at Christmas: Hundreds of Dundee children without permanent homes

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