Prevention work brings homelessness figures down by a fifth

Prevention work by the Council has led to a significant reduction in the number of homeless presentations over the last five years.

There has been 20.6% reduction over the five year period 2014-15 to 2018-19 and a 2.7% reduction in homeless presentations between 2018-2019 and 2017-2018.

Cllr Kate Campbell, Housing and Economy Convener, said: "Our rapid rehousing transition plan is about getting to a place where the number of homes we are able to allocate to homeless households is the same as the number of people presenting as homeless each year. This will eliminate the need for temporary accommodation as we will be able to allocate a permanent settled home to people as soon as they present as homeless. 

"To make this work we need to build more social homes and increase supply, and prevent homelessness so that we reduce the demand for homes. This means that preventing people from becoming homeless is a major part of making the plan work.  

"It’s brilliant to see that our strategies for prevention are working and we’ve seen another decrease in the number of homeless presentations this year – making it a 20% reduction – over 800 households – over the last five years. 

"However, we have to be realistic that it will only get tougher because of the roll out of universal credit, welfare reform and the cost of housing in Edinburgh. We have only 15% social housing compared to a national average of 24%. And in other major cities in Scotland it tends to be higher than the average. 

"This means that in Edinburgh we have around 10% of our population, who in other local authorities would be living in social housing, living in the private rented sector. And our private rented sector is the most expensive in Scotland. 

"This is why we’re employing four new housing officers, one in each locality, who will focus on helping people who are at risk of becoming homeless from the private rented sector.  

"This could be through support with income maximisation, knowing their rights as a tenant, or working with landlords to prevent an eviction. At our locality offices residents are able to speak to our officers more quickly and access a range of partner support services in one location.  

"It’s good to see that the approach we have taken to prevention is working, but we know that we need work even harder to keep preventing homelessness in the years to ahead."

 The data for the last five years

 

Total

2018-2019

3188

2017-2018

3277

2016-2017

3376

2015-2016

3645

2014-2015

4016

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