The nights are drawing in, the weather is turning and Christmas is just around the corner. Excited? Ready to celebrate?
Unfortunately, there are over 5,224 reasons to stop us celebrating at Shelter Scotland this year. That’s the number of children in Scotland that will spend this Christmas without a permanent home of their own.
When Shelter Scotland was formed almost 48 years ago, our founders hoped that by now our work would have ended homelessness. Nearly fifty years on, and we’re still dealing with the crisis. A huge range of people are affected by our housing shortage, from a generation of young people who can’t afford a home to those struggling with sub-standard housing. Budget cuts to local and national government, ongoing changes and reductions in support for some of the most vulnerable in our society, combined with a stuttering supply of social housing across the country, means that homelessness is as much of a problem in Scotland today as it ever has been.
Our work at Shelter Scotland helps us understand that homelessness can happen to anyone. All too often our work shows us that it is chance, not choice, that leads to someone losing their home. Becoming homeless is a personal tragedy for everyone it affects. It has major implications on your life expectancy, health, employability, education and wider wellbeing – to say nothing of the moral failing it represents for Scotland as a progressive nation. We are one of the richest nations in the world, so why is it that, we still cannot fulfill the most basic of needs and provide a home for everyone?
This festive season we should be celebrating. But we can’t. Not when 120,000 children across Britain will wake up homeless on Christmas morning and a 5,224 of them are on our doorstep here in Scotland. It is particularly worrying that this represents 10% more children than this time last Christmas that are stuck in temporary accommodation in Scotland, waiting for a house to call home and having their long-term health, education and life chances put at risk.
Of course we are not asking anyone to put their festivities on hold. But, with your support we can continue to work towards the day when everyone has a place to call home, and no one needs our help.
A donation from you could help our advisors provide the expert advice and support needed to find these children, and others at risk of homelessness, a permanent place to call home and give them a reason to celebrate this Christmas. You can make a donation here.
If you can donate to help support our work, please do. If you can’t just now, then please consider supporting our campaign Homelessness: Far From Fixed to help us fix homelessness in Scotland. Because everyone deserves a safe and affordable place to call home. Sign up