Speedy solutions sought to tackle homelessness in West Lothian
West Lothian Council has been considering ways to deliver additional housing rapidly to meet local demand for homes for rent.
Council officers have been looking at quick-build housing solutions to provide more homes for rent and reduce reliance on hotels and B&Bs, to see if they could work in West Lothian.
A motion passed by West Lothian Council in November 2022 asked officers to report to the Housing Services Policy, Development and Scrutiny Panel (PDSP) on the options to deliver housing that meets statutory accommodation standards.
The report to the Housing Services PDSP on 26 January provided an update on a range of different concepts. These included cabins/containers for temporary accommodation, which were found not to be any cheaper or quicker to build than permanent homes.
Modular housing, where units are manufactured offsite, were also looked at to provide permanent affordable housing but research showed cost and delivery times were similar to traditional construction methods.
Repurposing of existing building into homes was also explored, with Rock Trust and Almond Housing Association in the process of transforming a former adult care home to provide accommodation for young people. Council officers continue to undertake work to identify any further suitable, available buildings.
Executive councillor for housing services George Paul said: “We will continue to look at ways to deliver more homes for rent in a viable, sustainable and cost-effective way.
“Unfortunately, there are no easy solutions in this very challenging area, where local demand for affordable homes for rent far exceeds the supply of homes it is possible to deliver. Every option must be explored to prevent homelessness and increase the numbers of affordable homes in West Lothian.
“We will also continue to aim to increase the numbers of affordable homes for rent with our Registered Social Landlords partners, by building new homes, purchasing existing ones or creating new sharing spaces.
“Establishing a new West Lothian Empty Homes Partnership should also help bring vacant properties back into use, while temporary leases with private sector landlord are expected to increase this year.”