Page last updated at 15:56 GMT, Monday, 2 February 2009

Rise in queries over homelessness

Homeless person
Cab Scotland said the queries involved "actual or imminent homelessness"

Citizens Advice Bureau (Cab) staff in Scotland are dealing with 22 cases relating to homelessness a day.

According to the service, in the last financial year advisers at offices across Scotland had 8,000 separate approaches on the issue.

Cab Scotland has called on the Scottish Government and local authorities to work together to tackle the problem.

A government spokesman said it had increased funding in an effort to end homelessness by 2012.

A Cab spokesman said the 8,000 cases last year involved "actual or threatened homelessness" and said the number of approaches made had doubled in the past nine years.

Many were from people who had no place to live, while others were from individuals worried that they were about to find themselves without a roof over their heads.

The organisation's chief executive, Kaliani Lyle, said many of those affected were children, migrant workers or people with mental health problems.

"Our advisers across Scotland are reporting a number of different types of people facing actual or imminent homelessness," she said.

"And of course many of those affected are amongst the most vulnerable in our society - e.g. families with children, young Scots, migrant workers and people with mental health problems.

Everyone should have the opportunity to have a settled home,
Scottish Government spokesman

"It's time for the government and local authorities to show that they intend to keep their promise to end homelessness by 2012. They must act now to make sure that no-one in Scotland has to face life without a decent place to live."

A government spokesman said: "This government is doing all it can to meet the 2012 homelessness target and help those facing the threat of repossession as the economic recession bites.

"We recently announced an extra 10m to be invested in Home Owners' Support Fund, a Scottish Government scheme to help homeowners struggling with mortgage repayments. The new money will mean the fund is being backed by 35m over this year and next."

He added that the government had also put 2.4m into projects across Scotland to help improve the lives of people who were homeless or at risk of losing their home and was bringing forward legislation and guidance to ensure more effective prevention.

"Everyone should have the opportunity to have a settled home, a base for themselves and their family and we will continue to work with Citizens Advice Scotland, Shelter and our local authorities to make that a reality," he said.

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