Citizens Advice Scotland warns of rental market crisis

Published by Will Dodds on September 10th 2021, 11:11am

Citizens Advice Scotland warned ministers of a crisis within the rental market last month amid rising numbers of evictions and an increase in homelessness.

The organisation noted an 18 per cent increase in the amount of advice given out surrounding housing issues compared with last year.

Meanwhile, it had seen a 28 per cent annual increase in requests for support dealing with private rent issues.

These issues, CAS has warned, could be worsened with the conclusion of the furlough scheme and other measure introduced during the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to National Records of Scotland, 216 people experiencing homelessness died in 2019, an increase of 21 deaths compared with 2018.

In Scotland, 52.2 people per million between the age of 15 and 74 are homeless, compared to 18 and 14.3 in England and Wales respectively.

To help alleviate the issues, CAS wants to see the introduction of new support measures to help people renting keep their homes.

Frontline Fife is a Scottish charity working to end homelessness by tackling the underlying causes and symptoms of poverty through early intervention and prevention.

The team provides a range of commissioned services throughout Fife, including preparation to leave home safely education for young people, 24-hour-access emergency accommodation, visiting support, addictions recovery support, housing advice and lay court representation.

Writing in a recent edition of The Parliamentary Review, CEO Caryn Nicolson discussed some of the difficulties in providing support for people that fall into homelessness.

"Many of the policies and actions to tackle homelessness are city-based in their development and are difficult to replicate in small urban and rural communities," she said.

"In Fife roughly two-thirds of residents live in urban areas, with the remaining third split between rural and smaller towns. The disparate location of these communities and access to public services differs greatly from area to area. The pandemic has accelerated the use of digital practice, bringing services into some people’s homes.

"However, access to broadband remains patchy, many local libraries once relied upon are now closed and the reported need for services varies across Fife’s seven local planning areas."

Nicolson added: "Too many people in Scotland are falling through the housing safety net; its mesh size can only be reduced if there is courage, commitment and an informed collegiate approach – and if we seek and record evidence from those on either side of service delivery."

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Will Dodds
Senior Journalist
September 10th 2021, 11:11am

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