Number of homeless housed in West Lothian B&Bs soars

Number of homeless housed in West Lothian B&Bs soars

The number of homeless people being housed in B&Bs in West Lothian has more than doubled over the last year.

West Lothian, which has the second-highest number of homeless presentations in Scotland, had developed a Rapid Rehousing Transition programme (RRTP) that was starting to ease the numbers of people experiencing homelessness in the area and speed up the transition into stable tenancies when the covid pandemic began.

The COVID-19 pandemic led to a surge in homeless applications, mainly by young people.

The numbers in B&B are up 128% between the end of June last year and this, from 61 to 139.

The length of time spent in B&B is up 227% from 14 days to almost 49 days from June 2020 to June this year, the West Lothian Courier reports.

Given the demand and supply projections, West Lothian Council will be unable to meet the terms of the Scottish Government’s Unsuitable Accommodation Order which came into force October 1. As a result, the council will incur a number of daily breaches.

Current projections show that the council may incur more than 350 breaches of the order from October 1 2021 to March 31, 2022. Breaches could result in both legal challenges from advice agencies and potential financial sanctions under legal challenges through the Equalities Act.

In a report to West Lothian Council’s Executive, Katy McBride, housing needs manager, said the council has nowhere near enough supply of both permanent and temporary accommodation to meet the current and predicted demand for social housing in West Lothian, as well as the need for suitable temporary homeless accommodation.

Council leader Lawrence Fitzpatrick, chairing the meeting, said he had met with cabinet ministers to impress on them the severity of the issues faced by West Lothian.

He added: “They are taking it away to look at it.”

The council currently has a supply of 454 councilowned properties for temporary accommodation which equates to 0.31% of the adult population in West Lothian.

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