The latest homelessness statistics make sobering reading for anyone who thinks Scotland is a progressive country leading the charge against social injustice.

Homeless applications are up for a second year in a row, the number of homeless children has risen for the fifth year in a row, thousands have been turned away to sofa surf, sleep on the street or worse. Last year local councils broke the law 3,535 times.

Since 2012 every homeless person has had the right to a home. Yet, due to a chronic shortage of suitable homes for social rent, thousands are becoming trapped in temporary accommodation – often for years at a time. And this isn’t the worst-case scenario, some aren’t offered any accommodation at all.

On an industrial scale, thousands of men, women and children are being denied their most basic right to a home. New Scottish Government-led initiatives like rapid rehousing will take time to bed in, but crucially these are only responses to a homeless crisis that has already happened they will not and cannot stop homelessness by preventing it in the first place.

And preventing it is what we have to do if we’re to stop the irreparable damage it causes to people’s lives, particularly the lives of children. For the fifth year in a row the number of homeless children living in temporary accommodation has risen – up two per cent to 6,795. This will be harming their physical and mental health, their chances in education and making it much more likely that they will become homeless again as adults.

People are being fundamentally failed by the housing safety net. The latest statistics record 3,535 times when people were denied their legal right to emergency housing by local authorities –turned away to sleep rough, sofa surf or return to dangerous situations.

It’s up to each and every one of us to ask ourselves - are we prepared to tolerate this? Last year, when homeless applications rose for the first time in a decade, we warned that alarm bells should be ringing in Holyrood and asked for urgent action from all areas of local and national government to combat homelessness and its causes.

These statistics suggest no progress has been made and homelessness in Scotland is still getting worse not better. Rights are not a privilege, they are an entitlement enforceable through law. Shelter Scotland will not sit idly by as people’s legal rights to a home are routinely denied.

Gordon MacRae is Head of Communications and Policy at Shelter Scotland