Homelessness task force to stop B&B use for families

Families no longer being accommodated in bed and breakfast accommodation by June 2018 was one of the outcomes agreed at the first meeting of the City of Edinburgh Council’s homelessness task force at the end of last year.

A report, outlining next steps, has now been agreed by councillors at the Housing and Economy Committee.

The task force has agreed to a strategy to implement the outcomes, which also include no 16 and 17 year olds or care leavers being accommodated in bed and breakfast accommodation and reducing the number of people in bed and breakfast accommodation, the lengths of stay in bed and breakfast accommodation and the number of people sleeping rough.

In addition, the task force wants to increase the stock of temporary accommodation, specifically flats, supported accommodation and new forms of temporary accommodation as well as continuing the reduction in homelessness presentations and implementing the Housing First approach.

Housing and Economy Convener Councillor Gavin Barrie said: “Our homelessness services are facing unprecedented pressures, with demand for both permanent and temporary accommodation exceeding supply. I’m delighted that the task force has now met and that we have now agreed the outcomes set by the group for approval.

“Ending the use of bed and breakfast for families and young people will be a huge step forward for the city. These are bold outcomes and I look forward to working with officers in the coming months and years to ensure that as a Council we deliver on all of task force’s commitments.”

The homelessness task force was set up in November last year and is chaired by the homelessness champion, Cllr Kate Campbell. Cllr Campbell, said: “We have the opportunity to put forward some really radical proposals to find the model that will work best for our city.

“Rapid access to a home for people with the most complex needs is widely recognised as key to tackling rough sleeping. We also need to challenge ourselves and our perception of what a home looks like. Different people have different needs and so we can’t be afraid of looking at shared living, community hosting and different approaches to support.  Looking for best practice elsewhere will help us to build on and improve our provision for the future.”

Cllr Cammy Day, Deputy Leader and member of the task force, said: “I welcome the fact that the task force is cross-party and I am looking forward to taking the agreed outcomes forward on that basis. We have a huge task ahead of us but I can’t think of a more worthwhile group I could be involved with to help improve the lives of homeless people in Edinburgh.”

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