An estimated 70,000 children in Scotland are on social housing waiting lists, the equivalent of 20 in every school, new analysis indicates.
Housing and homelessness charity Shelter Scotland is calling for at least 37,100 social homes to be built to help tackle the issue.
The charity’s analysis of the Scottish Housing Survey indicates there are around 40,000 households with children on waiting lists for social housing, and around 70,000 children within those households.
In a YouGov survey commissioned by the charity, knowledge of the number of school children on social housing waiting lists increased support for building more of these types of homes.
The poll of 1,073 adults in Scotland, carried out between September 8 and 11, found more than half (55%) of respondents believe the next Scottish government should build more social homes than the current government will have built by the end of this parliamentary term.
This rises to 65% when those surveyed were provided with the analysis of the number of children on waiting lists.
Just 4% believe the next Scottish government should build fewer social homes.
Just under two thirds (63%) believe Scottish political parties should prioritise building social homes, while around one in five (21%) believe they should prioritise ensuring more people can buy homes.
Shelter Scotland director Alison Watson said: “It’s not right that tens of thousands of children don’t have the security of a safe, affordable home. It’s time to build a better future for these families.
“We know that delivering more social homes will support economic growth, create jobs and help Scotland to meet its climate targets. It will also strengthen our communities – reducing poverty and inequality, improving people’s health and tackling the root cause of homelessness.
“That’s why thousands of our campaigners will be calling on candidates in the 2021 election to put social housebuilding at the heart of Scotland’s recovery plan. Let’s build Scotland’s future.”
Housing Minister Kevin Stewart said: “Ensuring everyone has access to a safe, warm and affordable place to call home is at the heart of our ambition for a fairer Scotland. We are committed to expanding our social housing stock and have transformed access to affordable housing.
“The Scottish Government has delivered more than 95,000 affordable homes since 2007, and invested more than £3.5 billion to deliver our target of 50,000 affordable homes, including 35,000 for social rent, over this parliamentary term.
“The Affordable Housing Supply Budget for this financial year was increased by £17 million to £843 million, and we have also provided a commitment of £300 million interim funding certainty for 2021-22.
“This will ensure that affordable homes continue to be delivered beyond this current parliamentary term ahead of the spending review later this year.
“The impact of lockdown meant that there was a necessary pause in the delivery of affordable and social homes at a critical time in our 50,000 target period.
“We are continuing to work with partners across the housing sector in order that the programme can be progressed, as construction resumes in a new safe way.”