When Shelter Scotland was formed in 1968, it harnessed both the anger and the compassion people felt about the appalling conditions many families were living in. Images by the photographer Nick Hedges highlighted examples of horrific housing in Scotland, especially Glasgow, which then appeared as ‘a besieged and beleaguered city’.
Hedges’ photographs opened people’s eyes to the overcrowded living spaces, chronic damp and inadequate cooking and toilet facilities experienced by those at the very bottom of the housing ladder.
And while these slum areas are now long gone and housing conditions have improved, far too many people are still struggling to find and keep a safe, secure and affordable home. Last year more people than ever before came to Shelter Scotland for help. We are still facing a shocking housing crisis in 2018. The scale of the problem is appalling and it will have an impact on the wellbeing and life chances of every family affected. In a nation as rich as ours this should not be happening.
Every 18 minutes a household in Scotland becomes homeless. 137,100 households are on council waiting lists. 6,581 children are in temporary accommodation. 1 million people are living in poverty in Scotland after housing costs.
Shelter Scotland’s 50th year is therefore not a celebration, but a reminder about the significant housing challenges that still exist. Housing and homelessness need to be at the top of the agenda for both national government and local authorities. That’s why we will continue to campaign and work with our partners to make sure there is an end to the housing crisis. We will also continue to help people in housing need and provide support, information and advocacy to prevent homelessness wherever we can.
Please do share the information about our 50th events and activity with your colleagues, family and friends. People can sign up on our website at www.shelterscotland.org/50 to hear more about what we are doing and how they can get involved. We are also on twitter – @shelterscotland, #stillfighting.
We will keep you updated as the year progresses and I hope you will be able to get involved.