Edinburgh housing emergency: New stats show the number of families losing homes in Capital has sharply increased since 2019

The number of families losing their homes in the Capital has surged in recent years as rents in the city hit an all-time high.

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New statistics show the number of open homeless applications in the Capital rose by nearly 35 per cent between September 2019 and September 2021, from 3,818 to 5,147.

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More than 1,500 children in Edinburgh were stuck in temporary accommodation on September 30 last year.

Rapid and major investment in social housing is essential, says Shelter Scotland.

And 780 households lost their homes between April and September 2021, while in the same six-month period there were 290 cases of households being refused temporary accommodation when their application should have been accepted.

Shelter said the figures, published by the Scottish Government, were a sharp reminder of the scale of the housing emergency in Edinburgh.

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The charity has previously welcomed government investment plans for social housing but has warned that even greater ambition will be needed to end homelessness.

The news comes as private sector rents in Edinburgh have risen to record levels as demand outstrips supply.

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Shelter Scotland director Alison Watson said: “These figures are a sharp reminder that the people of Edinburgh are suffering in the grip of a national housing emergency brought about by decades of under-investment in social housing.

“Home is everything and it is a disgrace that in the Scottish capital more than 1,500 children are stuck in temporary accommodation. Everyone has a right to a permanent home and being stuck in temporary accommodation can never be an adequate substitute.

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“It’s also deeply concerning that hundreds of people have been denied access to temporary accommodation when in desperate need.

“Increasing the supply of social housing will tackle the root causes of homelessness, ensure nobody needs to be trapped in temporary accommodation and is vital in alleviating poverty.

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“The Scottish Government’s investment plans for social housing are positive, but we can and must go further. Shelter Scotland and our supporters will continue to make the case for greater ambition and a faster pace of change. The thousands struggling without a safe, secure, home can’t wait any longer.”

Lothian MSP and Tory housing spokesman Miles Briggs said it was “very concerning” that homeless applications had increased so dramatically across Edinburgh.

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He said: “There are many factors that put people at higher risk of becoming homeless and having measures in place to prevent people from becoming homeless is crucial.

Edinburgh Council must be properly funded to ensure that they can implement policies to give everyone a stable home.

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“The number of children in temporary accommodation is especially concerning and it is disappointing that no progress has been made in reducing the number of children who are not in permanent accommodation.

“SNP-Green ministers’ chronic under-funding of councils makes the challenge of preventing homelessness in the Capital extremely difficult."

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And he called for a cross-party summit with the Housing Secretary Shona Robison to discuss the growing concerns.

Just last week the Evening News reported how rents in Edinburgh’s high-pressure property market had soared with the average monthly rent rising by 9.8 per cent to £1,191 in the last three months of 2021. Scotland-wide, average monthly rents rose 5.2 per cent to £869.

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Housing convener Kate Campbell said Edinburgh faced housing pressures like nowhere else in Scotland, with the lowest proportion of social housing in the country and biggest private rented sector.

"That’s why we’re pressing ahead with our ambitious housebuilding project.

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“We’re doing everything within our power to prevent households and families from facing homelessness in the first place and the efforts of our homelessness prevention team have been helping more people to stay in their homes, when they may otherwise have faced eviction.

“It is particularly challenging when people present out of hours, and we have less options of accommodation available. Around 75 per cent of all failures to accommodate happen out of hours and where someone has had incidents in one or more of our properties, perhaps with staff or other service users. This might result in them not being able to be placed back into the same accommodation.

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“As part of our Rapid Rehousing Transition Plan we are working to provide more emergency accommodation that can be easily accessed out of hours, and we have developed rapid access accommodation services to prevent homelessness wherever possible.

"Yet we recognise that we have more work to do. We will continue to make our case for more investment from the Scottish Government, so that we can put an end to rough sleeping in Edinburgh once and for all by meeting our intense housing need.”

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