By Lucy Ashton
Jackie Baillie, MSP for Dumbarton Constituency, pictured right, has slammed the “disgraceful” length of time children spend in temporary accommodation, as figures show the average stay for couples with children has risen to almost a year.
New analysis of homeless statistics for 2020-21 has revealed that children are facing increasingly lengthy spells in temporary accommodation, with average stays increasing year on year since 2017-18.
Shockingly, in 2020/21 West Dunbartonshire had the highest rate of households assessed as homeless with 11.9 households per 100,000 population. West Dunbartonshire’s high rates of homelessness cannot be explained by those with a local connection elsewhere with 99% of households having a local connection with the local area.
On average, a couple with children now spends almost a year in temporary accommodation, with average stays now at a shocking 341 days. This is almost 5 months longer than a couple without children.
Similarly, single parents typically wait an extra 53 days compared to their childless counterparts.
This disparity is growing, with families being hit particularly hard by lengthening stays during the pandemic.
Since 2018-19, the average stay for single parents has increased by 25 days or 12 per cent, while couples with children have faced an astonishing 30 per cent increase, with average stays rising by over 2.5 months.
These are both well above the average increase of 16 days or 9 per cent across all households.
Jackie Baillie has accused the SNP of a “total dereliction of duty” for letting stays in temporary accommodation spiral out of control.
Jackie Baillie MSP said: “These ever-growing stays in temporary accommodation are nothing short of disgraceful. It is shameful that West Dunbartonshire has the highest number of households assessed as homeless per 100,000.
“Any civilised society should be getting children into proper homes as a matter of urgency – but we are falling woefully short.
“It is shameful that some children will go through the best part of an entire school year stuck in limbo.
“It is particularly unthinkable for children to face months on end in temporary accommodation, but it is a scandal for people of any age to have to endure this.
“These spiralling stays represent a total dereliction of duty from the SNP.
“We need a real strategy for tackling homelessness, that doesn’t rely on endless stays in temporary accommodation.”