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The average Scot is just two pay cheques away from homelessness


By Kirsty Brown


A nationwide study has found that on average Scottish adults only have enough in the bank to continue paying their rent or mortgage for little over two months if they were to lose their job today.

Only a third of Scots have savings which they could use to pay for housing if their financial situation changed, with more than a third (35 percent) saying that it is a constant struggle to meet the basic costs of living such as housing costs, bills and transport.

Terrifyingly 31 percent of adults in Scotland think that it would only take one change in their financial situation, such as the break down of a relationship, illness or loss of a job, for them to lose their home or be evicted from their property.

If the worst was to happen and they found themselves homeless, more than one in 10 said they would have absolutely nothing to fall back on; and while 39 percent said they could potentially rely on family to put them up, a fifth said they’d be too ashamed to ask them for help.

The study, carried out by social enterprise Beam, also found as many as 47 percent of Scots had been forced to move from their home in the past because they could not afford to continue living there.

Of those, a quarter stayed with family, 29 percent relied on friends and 21 percent had to borrow money but a less fortunate 43 percent were forced to stay in emergency accommodation, a bed and breakfast or a hostel.

Benefits being stopped, relationships breakdowns and job loss were the most common reasons for people to lose their home, but 13 percent said their mental health was also a factor.

More than half (59 percent) of us claim to know at least one person who has lost their home, with 65 percent having had a friend or family member stay as they had nowhere else to go and 26 percent said they know of people who have lost everything through no fault of their own.

Despite this, the same study showed that 16 percent of people do not feel comfortable giving money to the homeless with the same number admitting that they do not tend to trust homeless people.

Yet more than 90 percent of Scottish adults said that they believed that with the right support most homeless people could turn their life around, and a generous 92 per cent said they would donate to a homeless person to fund training for them to get a stable job.



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