There is one thing that nearly 5000 children in Scotland desperately want this Christmas – somewhere they can call home.
That’s the message housing campaigners from the charity Shelter were getting across when they gift-wrapped a full-size affordable home.
The charity says that having 5000 children in Scotland wake up homeless on Christmas Day is a ‘mark of shame’ as it represents a 15 per cent increase on last year’s figures.
The gift-wrapped house in Edinburgh belongs to Link Housing Association.
In the last year, Link has completed 218 new or improved homes for social and intermediate rent and has established a significant development programme which will deliver another 1,200 during the next three years.
However, Shelter Scotland says to address the problem and meet demand for housing, Scotland needs to build at least 12,000 affordable homes every year.
Alison Watson, deputy director of Shelter Scotland, said: “This gift-wrapped house represents every child’s wish for a safe and secure place to call home – a place where they can play, enjoy family life, learn and thrive.
“We urge all of Scotland’s political parties to include ambitious targets for new affordable housing in their manifestos for next year’s Holyrood election campaigns and bring hope to those without a permanent place to call home.”
Across Scotland, 150,000 families and individuals are on council waiting lists for a home.
Alison Watson, added: “Families with children can spend many weeks, months or even years stuck in temporary accommodation waiting for a house they can call home.
“Being homeless is particularly detrimental to children’s health, life chances and education, with recent research from the Commission on Housing and Wellbeing showing homeless children miss on average 55 school days each year.
“We simply have to do more to make sure no child is homeless at Christmas or at any other time.”
For more information on the work of the charity visit shelterscotland.org or to donate to support Shelter Scotland’s work to prevent homelessness and give a child a warm, secure home when they need it text SHELTER to 70123 to donate £3.