Surge in number of children living in damp conditions

One in five of all calls to our free national advice helpline are about dampness and disrepair. It says that if politicians want to make good on their promises to tackle child poverty, a big improvement in the quality of housing children live in would make the world of difference.

In a report from Shelter, Scotland, The Facts: bad housing and homelessness for children and young people in Scotland 2011, shows:

– 186,000 children now live in a home with condensation or damp, or both – equivalent to every child in Edinburgh and Glasgow. [Up 20% from 155,000]
– Nearly one in five (179,000) children now live in fuel poverty – more than enough to fill Hampden Park  stadium three times over – up from 128,000 last year. [A rise of 40%]
– One in ten children (96,000) also live in overcrowded homes in Scotland – meaning children live in two thirds of all overcrowded households.
– 60 children are made homeless each day (22,000 in total last year)
– 28 children under the age of five are made homeless each day.
 
Gordon MacRae, Head of Communications and Policy at Shelter Scotland says:

“Despite knowing that a warm, safe home is crucial to all aspects of a child’s wellbeing, we live in a Scotland where around one in five children still have to cope with waking up every day in cold, damp, overcrowded and dangerous homes.

“As the increased cost of living and steep rise in crippling fuel poverty hit home, things are set to get even worse, not better.

“The root cause is a lack of decent quality homes. The new Scottish Government must now fulfil its manifesto pledge and build, as a minimum, the 6,000 socially-rented council and housing association homes per year it promised.

“This is the only way of putting to an end the unacceptable living conditions we continue to force on our children and young people and would be a fundamental step forward in tackling child poverty.”

– To help remedy the situation, the report makes several key recommendations, including:
– Build more good family homes in good communities – so that every child can have a good start in life.
– New minimum standards for temporary accommodation so that no-one waits for years in expensive B&Bs.
– End the cycle of repeat homelessness by making eviction by councils and housing associations a genuine last resort.

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