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1 June 2015, 14:05
A housing charity has launched a new digital advice service after the number of people visiting its website for help increased by more than a fifth.
Those struggling to get by can now get advice on housing, money and debt advice from Shelter Scotland using their mobile phone, tablet or computer.
An online chat function will allow people to seek help in confidence from the charity's team of trained expert advisers.
The new service has been set up after more than 600,000 visits were made to the advice section on Shelter Scotland's website last year - a rise of almost 22% on the total from 2013 of 492,000.
The charity supports more than 500,000 a year who are struggling with money, debt problems or housing issues, with its helpline receiving almost 19,500 calls from people at risk of losing their home - an average of 53 such calls a day.
Launching the new service, Shelter Scotland deputy director Alison Watson said: "Thousands of families and individuals across Scotland face a daily struggle to put food on the table and keep a roof over their heads.
"For these people, and many more living on a knife edge, access to accurate and relevant advice is a lifeline.
"We hope that extending our advice offering to digital platforms will enable us to help even more households across Scotland.
"Our advisers and volunteers are on hand on the phone and now via our website to help anyone facing bad housing and homelessness.
"When things start collapsing around them, people can be tempted to put their heads in the sand. Our advisors are here to help. If people come to us sooner we can do more - there's always hope."