Midlothian has Scotland’s highest temporary housing rate

Stock homelessness photo, by John Devlin.Stock homelessness photo, by John Devlin.
Stock homelessness photo, by John Devlin.
Lothian List MSP Jeremy Balfour has called on the SNP Government to take responsibility for the number of households in temporary accommodation in Midlothian.

The latest figures reveal 5.6 households per 100,000 of the population were in temporary accommodation in Midlothian, the highest rate of any local authority in Scotland, where the average is 2.6 per household.

The figures cover the period up to the end of March 2020 so do not take full account of the effects of the Covid pandemic, but Mr Balfour is calling on Ministers to get control of the homelessness crisis and ensure effective strategies are in place to properly tackle the situation.

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Mr Balfour MSP (Con) said: “I am extremely concerned at the temporary accommodation figure for Midlothian, which is more than double the Scottish average for those households per population that are in temporary accommodation. This appalling situation will be hurting children and the most vulnerable. Urgent attention is needed as to why so many in Midlothian are in temporary accommodation.

Jeremy Balfour MSP.Jeremy Balfour MSP.
Jeremy Balfour MSP.

“It is time the SNP Government took full responsibility and came up with effective strategies that properly tackle this serious issue. I will continue to hold the SNP Government to account over the housing crisis.”

Housing Minister Kevin Stewart said: “While temporary accommodation can offer an important emergency safety net for anyone who finds themselves homeless, it should be a purely temporary measure.

“That’s why for those who need it in emergency situations, we also introduced universal standards for the quality of temporary accommodation, for all local authorities to adhere to.

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“We are committed to ending homelessness and have allocated £32.5 million to support, prioritising settled housing for all.”

Midlothian Council’s Cabinet member for housing, Cllr Stephen Curran (Lab) said: “Our vision by 2024, as set out in our Rapid Rehousing Transition Plan approved in 2018, is ‘an increased number of homeless households will obtain permanent accommodation as a result of the revised Housing Allocation Policy, no homeless household will be accommodated in bed and breakfast accommodation, and the average time taken for the council to complete its homeless duty will have halved’.

“We are confident of achieving this ambition.

“Among the actions we are taking is increasing the supply of affordable housing in Midlothian. So far 1,163 affordable homes have been built in Phases 1 and 2 with plans for more than 900 more to be built in Phases, 2, 3 and 4.”

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