Shelter Scotland is beginning ground-breaking research with De Montfort University and University College London, to understand children’s experiences of temporary accommodation (temp) and explore the impact it has on their lives. We will hear directly from children themselves, capturing their experiences in their own words.

What is the need for this research?

Scotland is in the grips of a housing emergency with record numbers of children living in temp, often trapped for years because of the lack of family sized social homes for them to move into. Earlier this year a Scottish Government Working Group recognised the need to address this problem – publishing recommendations on how to reduce the numbers of households, particularly households with children, in temp.

The impact that living in temp has on children’s lives is an increasing concern among children’s organisations, with Children and Young People’s Commissioner Scotland, Includem and Save the Children all recently publishing reports on the subject.

Shelter Scotland services all too often see the devastating impact temp can have on children’s lives. Fionna Lindsay, a Senior Housing Rights Worker, works with children and their families living in temp in Glasgow.  Her reflections clearly show this impact:

“We’re increasingly seeing children and their parents stuck in hotel rooms for months –having to share a bed with their parents or siblings or forced to sleep on a sofa, and unable to eat proper meals because there are no cooking facilities…  Living on top of each other, with little or no choice over where they live, separated from their friends, with no space to play or study is hugely detrimental in all manner of ways – physical, emotional, psychological, educational and social.”

A generation of children in Scotland are being stripped of their right to grow up in a secure, safe home and are unable to achieve their full potential.  This is unacceptable.

We have commissioned this research to show the reality of children’s lives in temp. It will put children’s voices at the centre of our understanding and will be a powerful tool in Shelter Scotland’s continued campaigning for housing justice. We won’t stop until everyone has a home.

What will this research involve?

This research will be co-led by Professor Monica Lakhanpaul and Dr Nadia Svirydzenka. They are both experts in this subject area and bring learnings from their previous work on the Champions Project, which looked at the impact of COVID on children living in temp in England.

The researchers will speak directly to children living in temp and will explore how they live their lives though their words, stories, and drawings. Parents of some of the children will also be asked to add their reflections and insight.

Two advisory groups will support this research process by feeding in their knowledge and insight, making it as useful and impactful as possible. One of these groups will be made up of young people with lived experience of temp. The other is a group of professional stakeholders – including third sector children and poverty organisations, front line homelessness services, Public Health Scotland, Association of Local Authority Chief Housing Officers and the Scottish Government.

The research project will take place over the next year, with the final report with findings and recommendations due in Winter 2024. The researchers are now beginning to recruit participants and apply for ethical approval.

Please watch this space for updates on the progress of this exciting new piece of research!

If you have any further questions, please get in touch:

We would also like to thank the funders who have made this research possible. This includes two private donors, and funding from Public Health Scotland.