A HOUSING crisis in Scotland is seeing households becoming homeless at the rate of one every 19 minutes, a damning study published today has found.
Housing charity Shelter Scotland said it helped more than 21,000 people last year and more than 825,000 visited its online advice pages.
Worst-hit are private renters and young people, while there are also increasing numbers of rough-sleepers dying on the streets.
Almost half (46 per cent) of people needing help were private renters, despite the sector making up only 14 per cent of homes in Scotland.
Young people aged 16 to 34 made up 46 per cent of those seeking advice and more than 1,000 homeless people asked the charity for help.
Shelter Scotland’s deputy director Alison Watson said: “The terrible shortage of truly affordable homes, harsh welfare reforms, stagnant wages and the high cost of keeping a roof over their head are the main problem.
“The statistics speak for themselves: on average, a household in Scotland becomes homeless every 19 minutes. We are seeing more reports of rough-sleepers dying on our city streets.
“Unknown numbers are sofa-surfing with friends and families as they don’t have, or cannot afford, a home of their own.”
Ms Watson said the crisis’s victims were some of society’s “most vulnerable people.”
Labour MSP Pauline McNeill said: “Labour has been putting pressure on the SNP government for months to take the housing crisis seriously.
“That means building more homes with a national housebuilding strategy, creating jobs and cutting poverty levels, but also reforming the private rented sector too.”