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Homelessness is a major issue facing not only the Scottish Executive, the British Government but also many other governments worldwide. In this essay, I will be describing the causes of homelessness in Scotland

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Introduction

Homelessness Homelessness is a major issue facing not only the Scottish Executive, the British Government but also many other governments worldwide. In this essay, I will be describing the causes of homelessness in Scotland, how many people are affected by it and what is being done to resolve the issue. How big is the problem of homelessness facing councils in Scotland? In 2002-2003 alone, 46,942 households registered as homeless with their local councils. Of these, 2,802 had lost their own homes due to evictions or abandonments. Currently, 900 households apply as homeless each week: of these 325 households are made homeless because family, relatives and friends cannot offer them accommodation. A further 110 households apply because of domestic violence; 110 because a relationship has broken down; 65 households are fleeing harassment; 45 households cannot afford their rent or mortgage and 10 households apply as homeless because they had to sell marital homes as a result of divorce proceedings. The remaining 200 face homelessness due to a wide variety of reasons such as overcrowded or unfit conditions. Many find themselves homeless suddenly due to illness or unemployment. Which groups in Scottish society are most affected by homelessness? ...read more.

Middle

Claire Harris , a journalist for Big Issue magazine interviewed him in June 2003 and commented, "He carries with him an overpowering odour of sweat, stale food and urine. His face is dirty, covered in acne and he looks much older than his years." Peter admits he feels degraded and shameful when people look at him. Peter's case could be that of any teenager living on the streets in Scotland. Many of the army of homeless people living rough have had problems with alcohol and drugs. Paul Hughes is from the East End of Glasgow and has a history of drug abuse. He spent four years on the streets in Glasgow, followed by three years in Kilmarnock Prison and has been living in hostel accommodation for seven months. He was put on methadone when he was released to help to deal with his addiction but finds it difficult because he claims up to 90% of homeless people on city streets are on drugs. He refers to drugs as both the problem and the effect of homelessness. An interesting fact about homelessness is that many homeless people are well-educated. A survey of 150 people in England found that 47% had some form of qualification. ...read more.

Conclusion

However, if you are living on your own, food and accommodation costs the same no matter what age you are. "A benefits system is needed which enables people to live on the amount of money they are given, but which allows them to move from benefits to work, and does not trap them in poverty." The Homelessness Act 2003 appears to be addressing the problem. In it, every person who is unintentionally homeless is to be guaranteed a home in Scotland by 2012. This Act also offers greater legal protection to those who are homeless or who are in danger of becoming homeless. Homelessness is therefore undoubtedly a huge problem in our communities which local councils and central Government strive to tackle. Although charities such as Shelter, CHAS and the Big Issue movement all help to raise awareness of the problem, lack of funds to support homeless people is probably the greatest impediment to reducing the numbers of homeless on our streets today. I do believe that actions taken by the government and charities are helping to solve the problem but it is only a drop in the ocean. I would recommend more time is spent on trying to stop people becoming caught in the trap of homelessness in the first place. ...read more.

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