Edinburgh Homeless Target Will Not Be Met

By Nicol J. Craig

The Scottish Government will now not meet its target of ceasing the practice of local authorities placing homeless in private accommodation by 2012, according to local councillor Gordon Munro.

Leith councillor Gordon Munro, who wants more social housing, said: “We’re at the end of 2008 now so we have three years to meet this target and it’s not looking good.”

He added: “It’s partly down to the capital effect as well. More people are coming from other areas into Edinburgh because they know they’ll get put into decent accommodation, possibly quicker.”

Edinburgh taxpayers currently have to pay at least four times more than anywhere else in Scotland to curb the cities homeless problem.

Recent figures show that 900 people were put into private rented accommodation in Glasgow last year compared to 200.

A council representative said the new figures do not take into account Edinburgh’s unique situation regarding the homeless.  Edinburgh requires three quarters of the nations affordable housing need, but receives only a quarter of the funding.  Council aids say that using the cities abundance of private rented accommodation is good for the homeless and good for landlords.

The council currently spends £2 million on putting up homeless people back into homes, but also uses the money on B&B’s up to £35 a night.

Councillor Paul Edie, housing leader, said: “We subsidise them going into private accommodation so they are not on the street and I don’t think it is a long-term solution, but short of getting more money for affordable housing it is just sticking plasters over the problem.

He added: “We need to build more council and social housing and faster because it does take time as well.”

The council are also discussing proposals to give council backed mortgages for those in rented accommodation that are in work.