Mum who fled abuse has been living in mould-plagued temporary housing for years

Mum-of-three Chloe says her young son's asthma is worsening due to damp conditions in their two-bedroom Glasgow flat.

Mum who fled abuse has been living in mould-plagued temporary housing for two years STV News

A mum living in mould-plagued temporary housing two years after fleeing her abusive marriage has made a desperate plea for a permanent home.

The family of four is currently cramped in a two-bedroom flat in Glasgow awaiting a home of their own to help rebuild their lives.

Chloe also fears for her young son, whose asthma has worsened due to living in mouldy, damp conditions.

She said: “He has started to not eat food. He’s really struggling with depression because of the state of the house.

“His asthma is really really bad with sleeping in a damp room.

“You can touch the bedding and feel the dampness off the bedding.

“I’ve got to constantly wash and dry all their clothes before they wear them. He’s got to the stage where he’s starting to eat a bit, but not as much as we’re expecting him to.

“I’m really worried about him. The whole family is worried about him.”

Chloe's son is suffering from depression and struggles to eat

It comes as the scale of people living in temporary accommodation has been described as a “national badge of shame” by homeless organisations.

Almost 17,000 households in Scotland are living in a home they can’t call their own, according to figures exclusively released to STV News.

Almost every council area reported a rise in such households over the last two years.

Charities are calling on the new First Minister to declare a national housing emergency.

‘We lie on plastic beds’

But two years on from the marriage breakdown that left her homeless, Chloe is no closer to getting a permanent place to live.

She said: “It’s hard because I’ve got the kids and they keep asking me ‘when are we getting a house? When are we getting a house?’.

“We’ve got four of us in the house and there are only two bedrooms.

“We’ve got two wardrobes to share between four. We’ve got plastic beds we’re lying on.

“I’m not allowed to change the furniture because it’s theirs. I said ‘well, you’re leaving me here two years, I’ve got to try and make it homey for me and the kids’.”

Chloe and her children live in mouldy, damp conditions

‘The figures are deeply worrying’

Chloe isn’t the only one waiting for a permanent home in Glasgow.

Over the last two years the number of households in temporary accommodation here has risen by 20%, from 2,960 households to 3,537 households.

In Falkirk there has been a 47% increase, from 326 households to 479 households.

Fife Council, which has declared a housing emergency, have experienced a 25% increase from 933 households to 1,166 households.

And in Edinburgh, there are almost 5,000 households in temporary accommodation which is the worst of all council areas – an increase of 7.5%.

Chloe has pleaded with the council for a permanent home.

Alison Watson, Shelter Scotland director said: “These are terrible figures and deeply worrying. They’re indicative of a bigger problem, it’s not just these local authorities that’re struggling.

“All local authorities to a certain extend are struggling. They’re trying to do more with less, against a backdrop of more kids in temporary accommodation, rents that are out of control and this is reflective of a national housing emergency.

“That’s why we’re urging Swinney as our new First Minister to declare a housing emergency.”

In Edinburgh, those dealing with the acuteness of the homeless situation want urgent political action and a reversal of the almost £200m of budget cuts.

‘A really terrible stalemate’

Cyrenians service director Amy Hutton said: “We are stuck in a really terrible stalemate where the need for temporary accommodation and the spend on that is so high that we are unable to free up the money that we really need for affordable housing.

“There needs to be a bigger injection of money or use of that money to end this stalemate.

The charity’s chief executive Ewan Aitken said: “Housing is the heart of the economy, the heart of how people stay healthy, the heart of strong communities.

“We cannot avoid the fact that we have a housing emergency and they need to get more money in there. They made a political choice to cut £200m out of it, they put a little bit back but we need more.”

Council: ‘Demand is outstripping availability’

Almost 17,000 households in Scotland are living in a home they can't call their own.

A spokeswoman for Glasgow’s Health and Social Care Partnership said: “We are aware of Chloe’s situation and have attempted on a number of occasions to access the property to allow remedial works to take place. 

“We rely on registered social landlords (RSLs) who have high demands in terms of housing need to meet, as well as in relation to homelessness.

“We work well with these RSLs and they are committed to providing us with accommodation but currently demand outstrips availability which means people are spending longer in emergency and temporary accommodation than any of us would want.”

Housing minister Paul McLennan said: “Increasing housing stock is key to reducing the use of temporary accommodation. We have delivered more than 128,000 affordable homes since April 2007, over 90,000 of which were for social rent – and we will invest nearly £600m in affordable housing in 2024-25.

“This includes last month’s announcement of up to an additional £40m this financial year and an equivalent commitment in 2025-26.

“The UK Government failed to inflation-proof their capital budget, and this has resulted in nearly a 10% real terms cut in our UK capital funding between 2023-24 and 2027-28. Likewise our financial transactions budget – key to delivering affordable housing – has been cut by 62%.

“This is on top of inflationary pressures and the disastrous impact Brexit has had on construction supply chain issues and labour shortages.”

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