On Tuesday, the Herald launches a major new series investigating Scotland's housing emergency and just what needs to be done to end the crisis.

The earliest indicators of issues date back nearly four years when we told how Glasgow City Council failed in its legal duties to homeless people by not ensuring there was enough suitable temporary accommodation for them before the coronavirus pandemic.

The Scottish Housing Regulator inquiry into the council’s services for people concluded that the council did not provide temporary accommodation to significant numbers of people when they needed it.

Amidst a stream of concerns raised by the housing regulator and some councils, the Scottish Government finally declared a housing emergency in mid-May.

A housing emergency, viewed by some as  a symbolic declaration by the Scottish Government, formally recognised that there are problems with the country's housing system.

The SNP had voted against a Scottish Labour motion in November 2023 calling for a housing emergency declaration.

The SNP changed its positions after the collapse of the SNP's power-sharing deal with the Greens and First Minister John Swinney's government faced defeat in a new vote on May 15.

That was followed by similar declarations in some council areas which now extend to  10 out of Scotland's 32 local authorities.

Argyll and Bute was first to make its declaration in June, 2023, nearly a year before the Scottish Government's pronouncement. Edinburgh was next to make a declaration on November 2, followed 28 days later by Glasgow City.

Since March, Fife, West Dunbartonshire, Scottish Borders, West Lothian, South Lanarkshire,  Angus  and Dumfries and Galloway followed suit.

While the reasons are complex and varied, common themes include pressures on homelessness services, high levels of people in temporary accommodation and a lack of affordable homes compared to high waiting lists.

Other factors are more specific to some areas, for example, Glasgow City Council has referred to pressures on the homelessness system from the UK Government’s streamlined asylum process.

Coverage from our team of reporters over five days will delve into the true extent of the crisis, examining how many are needing help, to the state of play in the building of necessary homes across the country.

We will go beyond just the politics to dig into the facts and figures, get the views of the experts and those affected by the crisis.

We will look at how it has affected children and reveal the depth of the reliance on temporary halfway house accommodation because of a lack of permanent, settled houses.

It will feature expert comment, opinion and analysis of the issues.

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During the debate, the social justice secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville MSP confirmed the Government now supported a declaration of a housing emergency.

John Swinney  (Image: NQ)

There will be an examination of the impact on rural areas and how the insecure housing situation is affecting children's education and people's health.

The SNP supported a Scottish Parliament vote declaring a nationwide housing emergency as opposition MSPs pushed for a coherent plan to address the situation.

Scottish Labour tabled the motion which made the declaration with the Government submitting an amendment accepting issues in the sector.

With the Bute House Agreement having collapsed the previous month, this was the first vote for the Scottish Government they risked losing without the support of the Greens.

But social justice secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville took aim at the UK Government, claiming increased inflation, Brexit and the 9% cut to the capital block grant had all substantially contributed to the current housing situation.

After the announcement, First Minister John Swinney said: “This Government “recognises the seriousness” of the housing situation.

“Which is why we’re committing ourselves to the terms of a housing emergency.

“What we want to do is have a frank debate about the challenges that we face in relation to capital expenditure.”

He said Scotland’s capital budget has fallen by 9% this year compared to last, meaning “we can’t afford as many things that we would have afforded in the past”.

Mr Swinney added: “We want to engage Parliament about some of the most effective ways of tackling the housing emergency as a consequence of working together on these priorities.”

Subscribe to The Herald to read the series in full this week.