Midlothian Council plans to cut down on cost of B&B stays

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Homeless families will be given temporary accommodation in a block of flats complete with a concierge service in an attempt to reduce the cost of bed and breakfast stays in Midlothian.

New plans to turn a block of eight flats in Mayfield into housing for emergency homeless cases were put before Midlothian Councils’ cabinet.

Families currently living in the building, on Blackcot Road, will be moved out after agreeing to be relocated.

One resident has refused the offer to move despite being offered additional housing points and will stay in the property as the sole long-term occupant.

The move comes as the local authority revealed that its annual bill – met by council taxpayers – for bed and breakfast accommodation for homeless families in the area is £250,000.

Plans to convert former offices in Jarnac Court in Dalkeith are under way but have been hit with delays. and will not be ready or available to be used for homes before August next year.

A report to councillors stated that there are currently an average of 47 households staying in bed and breakfast facilities in Midlothian every night.

It said: “These are expensive and not ideally suited for families. Sometimes homeless families need to stay in a studio flat until longer accommodation can be sourced.”

It continues: “Making use of other council-owned buidlings for emergency accommodation would facilitate a signification reduction in spend on bed and breakfast accommodation.”

The report also added that using the block of eight maisonettes on Blackcot Road would generate enough income to provide an on-site concierge services within the building to assist the new tenants.

Two of the flats on the site are already empty and approaches by housing officers to the six remaining tenants resulted in five being willing to move.

The report revealed: “One tenant wishes to remain in the building but is supportive of the other properties in the building being used for temporary accommodation.”

The plan, if approved by members of the council, will see homeless families move into the block from December this year.