Homeless figures hide hidden dangers

Jimmy Campbell, Homeless feature, Citizens Advice Bureau, 8 Buccleuch Street, Dalkeith
Jimmy Campbell, Homeless feature, Citizens Advice Bureau, 8 Buccleuch Street, Dalkeith

Latest Scottish Government figures show a decline in homelessness but there are warnings that this can’t be maintained.

The figures show a 13 per cent drop in the number of homelessness applications in Scotland this year.

They come after all local authorities met the long-standing commitment last December to provide settled accommodation for unintentionally homeless people.

But Jimmy Campbell, from Citizens Advice Bureau Dalkeith, warned of future challenges: “There is a consensus of opinion that the recently introduced benefit restrictions including under-occupancy charges [‘bedroom tax’] and household benefit capping could very quickly reverse any progress.

“And concern surrounds the lack of available affordable housing, which very often forces local authority homeless departments, such as Midlothian, to provide much more expensive private rented accommodation.”

Councillor Owen Thompson (SNP), cabinet member with responsibility for housing, said: “We are striving to make sure that everyone in Midlothian has a home that meets their needs.

“We have also increased supported accommodation for young people as often it’s this group of people that simply don’t have the living skills or access to housing benefits, which can lead to homelessness.”

Read more on this in the July 25 edition of the Midlothian Advertiser.