£7 million bid to tackle homelessness in East Lothian

The local authority has drawn up a five-year plan to create more than 1,000 new placements to cut homeless numbers
The local authority has drawn up a five-year plan to create more than 1,000 new placements to cut homeless numbers
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A £7million bid to tackle homelessness in East Lothian is being put before the Scottish Government.

The local authority has drawn up a five-year plan to create more than 1,000 new placements to cut homeless numbers as part of a government-funded project to introduce Rapid Rehousing Transition Plans across Scotland.

However, the money required to get the plan up and running is more than a third of the entire fund set aside by the Scottish Government to cover councils nationwide.

Included in East Lothian Council’s ambitious five-year plan are 860 new tenancies, an additional 102 affordable housing units and a move to redesignate 150 temporary units to permanent accommodation.

Presenting their draft plan to the local authority’s cabinet meeting for approval on Tuesday, housing chiefs said it was imperative they received the full £7.221million they were bidding for from the national fund if their plans are to succeed.

Their proposals would see new tenancies used to help reduce the number of days spent in bed and breakfasts for all homeless residents to just seven days and the length of stay in temporary accommodation to nine months.

Councillor Norman Hampshire pointed out that the entire Scottish Government fund available to all local authorities to bid for was just £19million.

Mr Hampshire said: “Of the £19million available across the whole of Scotland we are looking for £7million.”

Cabinet approved the draft plan as an important step towards tackling homelessness in the county.

Councillor Jim Goodfellow, East Lothian Council’s spokesman for housing and community wellbeing, said: “The draft plan aims to make a meaningful, although realistic impact by 2024, in respect of addressing homelessness and improving the lives of some of our most vulnerable people across the county.

“We look forward to the government’s assessment of our long-term plans and clarity on available funding from central government to support the transition to rapid rehousing.”

Marie Sharp , Local Democracy Reporting Service

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