SCOTLAND’S leading housing and homelessness charity says it has seen an almost 20 per cent increase in the number of calls to its free national helpline in July, compared to the same time last year.
According to Shelter Scotland, 1,925 people contacted the free housing advice line in July 2012, compared to 1,636 during the same period last year. Since July 2010 the number of calls has increased by 37 per cent.
The charity also saw a 17 per cent increase in one month since June in the number of families and individuals it offered specialist advice to through the helpline. The figure for specialist cases represents an almost 20 per cent year-on-year increase from July 2011.
According to Shelter Scotland, 14,418 people contacted their free national helpline from January to July this year, compared to over 20,000 people for the whole of 2011.
Graeme Brown, Director of Shelter Scotland, said:
“Although we’re deeply concerned by the rise in calls to our helpline, we are not surprised. In the face of stretched household budgets, the impact of welfare reform starting to bite and increases in the cost of living even more families and individuals are at risk or losing their home.
“Already for some just a small increase in monthly outgoings could be the trigger that finally pushes them over the edge into a spiral of debt, repossession or eviction and possible homelessness.
“While the number of families and individuals needing our help continues to rise, we face major challenges of our own with cuts to our national and local services. Our helpline is entirely funded by public donations and we are relying now, more than ever, on the generosity and support of the public to help us to continue our vital work to ensure that no one fights bad housing and homelessness on their own.”
Graeme Brown added: “When things start collapsing around them, people often put their head in the sand. Our advisors are on hand to help anyone facing bad housing and homelessness. If they come to us sooner we can do more to help – there’s always hope. We urge anyone who is experiencing problems in paying their bills to seek advice sooner rather than later by calling our free national helpline on 0808 800 4444 or by visiting our website www.shelterscotland.org.”
Notes to Editors:
1. Shelter Scotland provides expert support services, online advice and a free national helpline for everyone facing housing and homelessness difficulties. For advice and support visit http://scotland.shelter.org.uk or call 0808 800 4444.
2. Spokespeople are available for interview – call the media office on 0844 515 2442. An ISDN line is available for broadcast interviews.
3. Follow Shelter Scotland on Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/shelterinscotland Twitter – http://twitter.com/shelterscotland
Shelter Scotland believes everyone should have a home. We help people find and keep a home. We campaign for decent housing for all.
Contact: Shelter Scotland