Daniel Thomson, a 37-year-old father who works 50 hours a week in a chip shop, is currently homeless and has been “sofa surfing” for four months in Glasgow. Despite his efforts, he has been unable to find affordable housing in the city. Local housing groups suggest his only option is to stay in a homeless hostel. Thomson’s situation reflects a growing issue of “core homelessness” in Scotland, where individuals are living in hostels, sleeping rough, or staying with friends.
Charity Crisis reported that over 18,400 households were in this situation each day in 2022 and predicted a third increase by 2026. Thomson became homeless following a relationship breakdown last year. He spends his days wondering where he will sleep each night, often relying on friends or his ex-partner.
Thomson cannot afford a deposit for a privately rented flat and has not been offered temporary accommodation despite a Schedule 5 referral from his council. He claims he was told that his circumstances would need to change before he could find a home. He was also informed that due to his lack of disabilities, employment status, and absence of a drug habit, he would be at the bottom of the housing list.
The city’s homeless team suggested he could stay in homeless accommodation for £100 per night, which he could not afford. This comes after Glasgow became the third council in Scotland to declare a housing emergency less than two months ago.
Crisis reported that the use of homeless B&Bs in Scotland has increased by 124% since the Covid pandemic. Glasgow City Council plans to decommission these hotels as part of a £4.9m saving to its homelessness budget.
The latest findings from Crisis’ Homelessness Monitor reveal that rough sleeping in England has increased by 132% since 2010. In Scotland, “core homelessness” has risen by 11% since 2020 and is expected to increase by 33% due to a shortage of social housing, rising private rent costs, and cost of living pressures.
The Scottish government’s forthcoming Housing Bill, supported by Crisis and other charities, is expected to include recommendations to help people at risk of homelessness. Housing Minister Paul McLennan stated that the government is committed to reducing the number of households in temporary accommodation and will invest at least £60m in 2023-24 as part of the £752m Affordable Housing Supply Programme.
However, the UK government has been urged to increase Housing Benefit and other working age benefits to make a significant difference. A UK government spokesperson said they are spending £2bn on tackling rough sleeping in England and aim to provide up to 2,400 homes for rough sleepers by March 2025.