There are calls for fresh plans to tackle homelessness after research revealed hundreds of people in East Renfrewshire were without an adequate roof over their head at Christmas time in 2021.

Figures obtained by the Scottish Liberal Democrats through freedom of information requests show that, of the live homeless applications to East Renfrewshire Council up to December 25, 2021, a total of 354 adults and 213 children were waiting to be placed in accommodation.

Paul McGarry, the party’s housing spokesman, has urged the Scottish Government to take action such as building more affordable homes to ease the problem.

He also wants new legislation to strengthen the duties on public bodies to prevent homelessness.

Mr McGarry, who was made homeless himself at 16, said most people take it for granted that they will always have a roof over their head but the new figures show that some are not so lucky.

“Many will be trapped in unstable situations, sofa-surfing or even living on the streets,” he added.

“Living without a secure home takes a huge toll on people’s mental and physical health. It sets back children’s development in a way that can leave them worse off for life.

“After a decade-and-a-half in charge, the SNP have barely made a dent. It’s time to get to work building thousands more social homes across Scotland, offering new help to renovate loans to bring derelict homes back into use and strengthen our commitment to ending homelessness.”

However, the Scottish Government has defended its efforts to make homelessness a thing of the past.

A spokesperson said: “Scotland has some of the strongest homelessness legislation in the world and key national bodies in the homelessness sector support the joint Scottish Government/Cosla Ending Homelessness Together action plan.

“We are introducing new homelessness prevention duties in the forthcoming housing Bill and we continue to support local authorities to develop Housing First programmes.

“Our latest annual progress report shows that the number of people sleeping rough in Scotland continues to fall.

“We have taken important steps towards strengthening rights for tenants and preventing homelessness and Scotland has led the way in the delivery of affordable housing across the UK.”