Calls for extra £2m funding to help tackle worsening homeless crisis

Councillors will request the extra funds at an Edinburgh City Council meeting on Thursday.

Calls for extra £2m funding to help tackle worsening homeless crisis iStock

More than £2m of new funding is being sought to tackle Edinburgh’s worsening homelessness crisis.

The number of homeless households is up almost 30% on pre-pandemic figures, with 4525 people across the city now living in temporary accommodation.

In March, Edinburgh City Council, which has a statutory duty to provide housing for those without a permanent residence, awarded ten accommodation providers contracts worth more than £16m in response to increased demand.

At the Finance and Resources Committee on Thursday, councillors will request an additional £2,145,000 in order to extend the contracts until March next year.

The money will be used to continue housing people in private flats, bed and breakfasts and tourist hotels.

A report published ahead of the committee warned: “There continues to be a demand for additional temporary accommodation to allow the council to meet its statutory duty to accommodate people who are homeless.

“Since the beginning of lockdown restrictions, the council has been required to secure additional temporary accommodation to meet public health objectives.”

It adds that the number of people being moved by the council to the private rented sector and social housing from temporary accommodation has slowed during the pandemic.

“The increase in temporary accommodation use is mainly a result of three factors: the provision of additional accommodation for those rough sleeping, the provision of temporary accommodation for people who may have no recourse to public funds and a lack of move on or settled accommodation,” the report said.

“Ten accommodation providers require additional approvals to cover the increased costs as a result of the ongoing increase in the numbers requiring temporary accommodation.”

Officials have recommended the funding be approved.

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