Summer homelessness applications in Falkirk buck national trend

Last year's summer months saw homeless applications soar
Last year's summer months saw homeless applications soar

A long hot summer of domestic discord led to one of the biggest rises in the number of people presenting themselves as homeless in recent years.

Between July and September 2014, Falkirk Council received 361 applications from people looking for homeless assistance - a 36 per cent jump from the same period in 2013.

The period also saw a rise in the number of 18 to 25-year-olds presenting as homeless. Many had been “asked to leave” their homes or tenancies.

The spike in numbers saw Falkirk buck the national trend - a three per cent decline in homeless applications during the same quarter.

However the local authority said its figures are falling.

Elizabeth Hood, neighbourhood and access to housing manager, said: “Overall, homeless presentations in the past five years have decreased.

“The biggest drop was in 2011/12 when the decrease was 47 per cent.

“This reduction coincided with introducing Housing Options, which offers advice, information and mediation before someone actually becomes homeless. All local authorities have been encouraged to do this, and, as a result homeless presentations have been reducing nationally.”

But homeless charity Shelter Scotland still has concerns.

Director Graeme Brown said: “It’s not all good news for homeless people in Scotland.

“The 36,457 households making homeless applications, a youth homelessness rate at 13.7 per 1000 – over double the rate for over 25s – and a rising proportion of homeless applications from the private rented sector signal that, although there are movements in the right direction, there’s a long way to go.

“We must ensure vulnerable households are offered support before they are pushed into crisis.”