Migrant Workers Swell Homeslessness Stats

Migrant workers from Eastern Europe are swelling Scotland’s homeless statistics, a leading charity has warned. And the problem threatens to escalate unless clearer guidance is issued by the executive to local authorities on how to handle homeless applications in Scotland. Over 800 migrant workers from eastern Europe have already registered themselves as homeless with charities warning that the problem may just be the tip of the iceberg. The first study to examine the issue of homelessness among “A8 migrants” – those workers from the newest countries to join the European Union – has found that many are living in cramped and overcrowded conditions.

As many migrant workers live in tied accommodation, they are more vulnerable to becoming homeless if they lose their job.

The Scottish Council for Single Homeless (SCSH), which carried out the research, has called for the Scottish Executive to provide local authorities with clearer guidance on how to handle homeless applications from migrants and to clear up much of the confusion surrounding their legal duties.

The SCSH survey shows that between February 2005 and 2006 more than 800 migrant workers from the A8 states – the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia – made homeless applications to local authorities in Scotland.

Of the total of 50,058 homeless applications received over the period, 833 came from migrant workers, which is about 1.6 per cent of all applications.

The highest proportion of applications from A8 migrants was to be found in the area that includes Moray, Aberdeenshire, Dundee and Angus councils. Just 172 migrant workers applied for assistance in this region, but they made up 3.26 per cent of all applications.