• Fri. Apr 12th, 2024

Rapid rise in Edinburgh student homelessness

ByEmma Gibson

Jan 29, 2024
Concrete high rise social housing against a gray sky.

On 17 January 2024, the Scottish Homelessness Monitor published its annual report on the state of homelessness in Scotland. 

It estimated that the number of households experiencing the most serious forms of homelessness could rise to 22, 730 this year and to 24, 450 by 2026 without significant policy changes. 

Student homelessness is also on the rise with 1 in 5 University of Edinburgh students without accommodation in the first week of the 2023/4 academic year. 

Edinburgh has had the largest numerical increase in homelessness of any city in Scotland, with an additional 723 homeless households in 2023 compared to 2022.

In response, the City of Edinburgh Council has raised the minimum number of new builds that must be social housing from 25% to 35% and announced a housing crisis. 

In 2022, the Scottish Government introduced a rent cap.

The Student spoke to Students for Actions on Homelessness (Slurp), an Edinburgh-based organisation which takes action against community and student-based homelessness. 

Slurp has raised demands to Edinburgh University to provide an emergency housing guarantee for all students, ensure accessible and affordable housing, and collect data on students’ housing situations. 

Slurp has also called upon Edinburgh Council to build more houses – particularly social housing – and take the student population into account in its plans in order to tackle rising homelessness rates in Edinburgh. 

The 2024/25 Scottish budget will provide local governments with a five per cent rise in funding – failing to account for the 2023 average monthly rate of inflation (7.4 per cent). 

However, Finance Secretary Shona Robison stated that housing would become the number one priority if the Scottish Government gets more money. 

Robison said Holyrood will need to make difficult decisions due to the “Tory austerity budget at the expense of public services,” pointing to the UK Government’s Autumn Statement which she claimed undermines the Scottish Government’s ability to deliver public services.

Social Housing, Lenton, Nottingham, England, March 2007” by Dr John2005 is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.