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19 December 2017, 07:22
Around a third of Scots believe they or someone they know is at risk of homelessness, a new survey has found.
A total of 31% of the more than 1,000 people questioned said they or an acquaintance could lose their home.
More than one in four (41%) said they were only two pay checks away from facing homelessness, the study by charity Street Soccer Scotland found.
Renters reported feeling more at risk, with 41% saying they believed that they or someone they know could lose their home in future, compared with 25% of homeowners.
Younger age groups were most likely to fear being made homeless, with 39% of people aged 16-24 surveyed claiming themselves or an acquaintance could be at risk, which dropped marginally to 37% for those aged 25-34 and to 36% for 35 to 44-year-olds.
Older people were significantly less likely to fear homelessness, with a quarter of those aged 55-64 concerned it could happen to them or someone they know, falling to 18% for over-65s.
More than half (52%) of the 1,083 people surveyed in late October said they would not know what to do if they became homeless, while a quarter said they or an acquaintance have already experienced homelessness.
Scottish Government statistics show 34,100 households made homelessness applications to local authorities across Scotland in 2016/17.
Street Soccer Scotland founder and chief executive David Duke, who was homeless for three years, said: "We need to end the stigma of homelessness - the us and them mentality. As these figures show, it can happen to any of us.
"Homelessness does not discriminate. We often think of it as something that happens to other people - to certain people in society. Our research shows that far from being an isolated problem, the risk of homelessness is too high for too many people in Scotland.
"It can take just one small change in circumstances. For me, it was bereavement when my dad died, but it can equally be illness or having your hours reduced at work, that sends people into a spiral towards homelessness.
"It doesn't just apply to people on the fringes of society, we're talking about people who have jobs and mortgages who are also at risk, as well as people renting their homes. People who think it could never happen to them."
He added that removing the stigma around homelessness could mean people would be "less embarrassed" about getting assistance earlier, which he hoped would help prevent them losing their home.