More than 16,000 children were homeless across the country last Christmas, research by the Scottish Liberal Democrats has found.
Figures provided by the Scottish Government in response to a parliamentary question from the party found that there were 28,154 live homelessness applications on December 25, 2022 – an 11% increase on the 25,458 in 2021.
The data showed 32,749 adults and 16,493 children were in temporary accommodation on Christmas day last year.
Edinburgh has the highest number of live applications, with 6,128 covering 7,465 adults and 3,902 children.
That was followed by Glasgow, with 4,863 covering a combined 9,394 individuals.
In Fife, 3,259 individuals were homeless on Christmas, followed by 2,634 in West Lothian and 2,260 in South Lanarkshire.
It means 49,242 people in Scotland were without a permanent home on Christmas 2022.
Earlier this month, it was revealed that 9,500 children – and 15,000 families – face the festive season without a permanent home
Liam McGarry, housing spokesman for the Scottish Lib Dems, is using his own experience of being made homeless at 16 to urge ministers to take action.
The party is urging the Scottish Government to build 60,000 affordable homes to address homelessness, while bringing forward legislation that would strengthen the duties on public bodies to prevent the crisis.
Mr McGarry said: “At Christmas time, most of us will have the security of a roof over our heads, but we now know that tens of thousands of Scots are not so lucky.
“A lack of availability, skyrocketing prices and poor-quality housing are all playing a part in making life miserable for far too many.
“Temporary council accommodation is stretched to breaking point, pushing people into unstable situations, sofa-surfing or even living on the streets.
“Children who find themselves homeless this Christmas will have lived their entire lives under an SNP Government. The nationalists cannot be trusted to tackle this issue.
“Scottish Liberal Democrats want to build more homes of every kind, re-establish social renting as a viable option and strengthen our commitment to ending homelessness across Scotland.”
Housing Minister Paul McLennan said: “Tackling homelessness is a key priority for the Scottish Government and our Ending Homelessness Together action plan has been developed with expert input.
“Scotland has the strongest rights across the UK nations for people experiencing homelessness, and anyone threatened with or experiencing homelessness is entitled to temporary accommodation.
“Since 2020 we have provided over £1.1m of funding to support rapid rehousing welcome centres in Glasgow and Edinburgh to provide immediate access to accommodation and support.
“Increasing housing supply is key to reducing the pressure on temporary accommodation.
“We will invest £556m in affordable homes across Scotland next year and continue to work with partners to increase the delivery of more affordable homes, the majority of which will be for social rent, including supporting acquisitions of existing properties.”
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