John McLellan: Homelessness report won’t end B&B use

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A year ago, then housing convener Gavin Barrie promised to end putting homeless families in emergency B&B accommodation within six months, but six months later it was he who had been evicted from his post.

Two months ago there were still 17 families in temporary B&Bs, and now council leader Adam McVey promises it will be eradicated in the coming year. Good news if it happens, but the question is how?

A report about how the council might meet Scottish Government homelessness recommendations won’t be available for another four months and the latest council position on “rapid access accommodation” says: “The procurement process is still in the early stages... once this has been completed and agreed a report will be submitted. It is difficult at this time to give a date for completion.”

In other words, he doesn’t know.

Decayed list a bad signal

The broken window theory, made famous in New York, is if you don’t attend to little things then it signals a lack of care, communities begin to lose their pride and decay can set in.

Going round the multi-storeys in Muirhouse recently I glanced at a council noticeboard meant to display useful local information in which a yellowing poster gave contact details for councillors which was so far out of date it wasn’t just for the previous administration but the one before that, so the list had been there since long before 2012.

And yes, there was a broken window too, and a wrecked van abandoned outside.

Good news travels fast

Far be it from me to criticise the Evening News, but I was intrigued by the story which told how the council had stepped in to repair the collapsed living room ceiling of a young mum’s damp Pilton flat.

She had been complaining for months about the dampness, but after the ceiling fell in she was told a proper repair wasn’t possible until next year. Only after she called the Evening News was the work done.

Guys, the council didn’t step in, YOU did…