Nearly 700 homeless households in Scotland were forced to spend more than TEN years in temporary accommodation, due to a chronic social housing shortage.

And 3,700 households spent at least five years in temporary housing, while a tenth of all homeless households in Scotland were there for more than a year.

Figures obtained by the charity Shelter Scotland through a freedom of information request, show that more than 2,000 homeless households who spend time in temporary accommodation are stuck there for a year or more. The figure represents 1 in 10 of all homeless households in Scotland.

60% (equivalent to 22,000) of all homeless households in Scotland are housed in temporary accommodation, which can be of poor quality and safety, while councils deal with their housing application.

A report based upon the figures highlights how a shortage in social housing has led to an average stay of around 18 weeks, while 1 in 4 homeless households are trapped in temporary accommodation for more than six months.

Graeme Brown, Director of Shelter Scotland, said:

“Last year 36,457 households applied as homeless in Scotland, so the provision of good quality temporary accommodation is crucial to help them through their crisis.

“But long stays in temporary accommodation are detrimental to people’s health and wellbeing, particularly children, so it is very worrying that 1 in 10 homeless households spent more than a year without a home.”

The Use of Temporary Accommodation in Scotland‘ report was released on the same day as the Scottish Government’s homeless statistics, which show a slight rise in the number of homeless households in temporary accommodation.

Temporary accommodation is used by local authorities while assessing the applications of homeless people and when no permanent lets are available.

Scottish Government homeless statistics show a reduction in homelessness applications, but Shelter Scotland says it is important to understand what is happening to homeless households.

Shelter Scotland is calling on the Scottish Government to introduce a legal requirement for local authorities to monitor the use of temporary accommodation.

Guidance should also be issued to local authorities on the minimum standards required for temporary housing.

Graeme Brown said: “We need to make sure that, where long-term stays can’t be avoided, minimum standards of accommodation must be met, not just in the quality of the accommodation, but also in terms of the support and services provided.”

“Building on the standards we jointly produced in 2010 with the Chartered Institute of Housing Scotland, we want to see the development of guidance on minimum standards for all households in temporary accommodation.

The charity is also calling on the Scottish Government to commit to building at least 10,000 social homes per year for the foreseeable future.

“The main cause of thousands of people having to spend six months or longer in temporary accommodation is the major shortage of homes for social rent across Scotland”, said Mr Brown

He added: “We need to build at least 10,000 new homes for social rent each year for the foreseeable future if we are going to start tackling our housing crisis.”