More than a million Scots believe that they or someone they know could experience homelessness, according to new research.
Street Soccer Scotland, which commissioned the study, said that 41% of homeowners and 25% of people with a mortgage in Scotland felt that they or someone they know could be at risk.
The research also showed that 41% of people believe that if they lost their job they would struggle to pay their rent or mortgage within two months.
Street Soccer Scotland is a social enterprise which provides football-related services to socially disadvantaged adults and young people across Scotland.
David Duke, founder and chief executive of Street Soccer Scotland, currently sits on the on the Scottish Government’s Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Action Group.
The taskforce is working to reduce the number of rough sleepers in Scotland over the winter and to change public perceptions of homelessness.
“Our research shows that far from being an isolated problem, the risk of homelessness is too high for too many people in Scotland,” said Mr Duke.
“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.”
According to the study, younger people were more likely to say that they were at risk of homelessness. A total of 39% of 16 to 24-year-olds believed that they or someone they know could face homelessness in the future, compared with just 18% of over-65s.
Mr Duke said the “shocking statistics” are partly due to the stigma and embarrassment around homelessness, which means people often do not get the help they need.
“If we get rid of the stigma, people will be less embarrassed about getting help before it’s too late. They’ll get help earlier and hopefully prevent homelessness happening in the first place,” he said.
Another recent study commissioned by Street Soccer Scotland showed 41% of people in Scotland said they were ‘fearful’ of stopping to speak to rough sleepers.