Midlothian rehousing plan approved by council

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Midlothian Council has approved its Rapid Rehousing Transition Plan and this will now be submitted to the Scottish Government.

The Scottish Government established a Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Action Group (HARSAG) in 2017, which has made recommendations on ending rough sleeping and transforming the use of temporary accommodation through a Rapid Rehousing approach for homeless households.

HARSAG recognises that in some areas the transition would be challenging due to a lack of affordable housing so recommended a five-year timescale for the transformation to rapid rehousing.

In Midlothian there are currently 1,079 homeless households. In 2017/18 a total of 248 homeless households were provided with permanent housing by the council or another registered social landlord. There is a significant shortage in the supply of affordable housing in Midlothian and the result is a significant length of time for many households in temporary accommodation.

The five-year Rapid Rehousing Transition Plan identifies actions to substantially increase the speed at which homeless households will be provided with permanent housing. This plan has to demonstrate not only how homelessness demand will be addressed, but also how any backlog of demand from homeless households currently in temporary accommodation will be addressed.

Key actions of the plan includes increasing the supply of new build affordable housing in Midlothian and reducing the need for bed and breakfast accommodation in the county.

Other action include- reviewing Midlothian Council’s Allocation Policy to ensure homeless households are housed more quickly.

-Supporting homeless households to access a tenancy in the private rented sector.

-Developing a ‘housing first’ approach – a method of helping people who are homeless and who have complex needs, to secure accommodation using housing as a starting point rather than an end goal.

Cllr Stephen Curran, cabinet member with responsibility for housing said: “We are already undertaking a range of activities which to support the development of rapid rehousing. This includes the ambitious new build programme set out in the Strategic Housing Investment Plan 2019/20 –2023/24 and plans to use the upper floors of Jarnac Court as an alternative to bed and breakfast accommodation. However our Rapid Rehousing Transition Plan also details actions which could be taken forward to increase the pace of transition if additional funding was provided by the Scottish Government.”

Midlothian’s Rapid Rehousing Transition Plan will be implemented from April.