Mum Speaks Out About Homeless Fears

Exclusive: Heart has been speaking to a Scottish mum who was forced to declare herself homeless.

Becky McCusker has been living in temporary accommodation in Dalbeattie for around 3 months.

She lived in a private let and was served a notice to quit after her landlord decided to sell.

She then had to go to the council to tell them she and her little boy had nowhere else to go:

"It was horrendous. I had a nervous breakdown in December 2 weeks before Christmas. It wasn't good."

The 24 year old says the hardest part was explaining it to her 7-year-old son: "Lennon asked me 'where are we moving?' I didn't know the answer to that; I couldn't give him any specifics.

"I didn't know if we'd be in the same town or if he'd be going to the same school."

The most recent figures from Shelter Scotland reveal around 4100 children are living in temporary accommodation including in hostels.  
There are currently 9,963 households in temporary accommodation across Scotland with 155,100 families and individuals on council waiting lists.  

Becky says it's been hard for her little boy: "He's got ADHD so any change at all he doesn't like. He has to be pre warned about what we're doing and where we're going. I have to wait on the council telling me before I can tell him."

"The hard thing abut being homeless is people have to accept things they shouldn't. No-one should have to accept somewhere they don't want to live because they're homeless with their children."

"When I was waiting to find out if I'd be accepted as homeless was horrendous. They can say no. If they had I don't know what I would have done."

Shelter claim the lack of social housing is fuelling the increase in those living in the private rented sector (PRS).

To reduce the pressure on the housing system the charity is calling on the Scottish Government to reform the private rented sector to make it safe and secure for all and to build 10,000 more social homes.

Rosemary Brotchie from Shelter says it's a crisis that must be tackled: "There's just not enough accommodation for them to move into. Suitable, affordable social rented homes are in short supply.

"If you're in a situation where you have no-where to go and you find yourself homeless with your children you can approach your council for help. They have a duty to house you. Often they will put you into a temporary place to meet your immediate need while they find you a permanent home.

"The trouble is although it's great we have these laws and families are housed straight away, because of a lack of permanent accommodation families are spending longer and longer in temporary homes."