Councils failing to make homelessness a priority
Some local authorities in Scotland will struggle to hit the country’s 2012 homelessness target, figures from the Scottish Government have revealed.
The annual statistics for Scottish homelessness, published on Tuesday, reveal how many homeless applicants are categorised as being in priority need by council area.
In 2003, the Homelessness (Scotland) Act was passed setting a target for all homeless applicants to be assessed as being a priority for settled accommodation by 31 December 2012, making it easier for single homeless people and couples without children to access homelessness services.
Currently, priority need is assigned to particularly vulnerable people such as pregnant women and people with dependent children.
Between January and March this year, six local authorities - Angus, Dundee, Orkney, Renfrewshire, Stirling and West Dunbartonshire - assessed 100 per cent of their applicants as a priority.
Angus and Dundee were the only councils to assess 100 per cent of homeless as in priority throughout the year. But three local authorities - East Lothian, Scottish Borders and Moray - assessed less than 80 per cent of applicants as in priority need.
A spokesperson for Scottish Borders Council said its local approach places ‘more emphasis on sustaining tenancies than just assessing people as homeless. This is both a practical and sustainable approach’.
Alastair Cameron, chief executive of Scottish Churches Housing Action, said: ‘Our concern is that pushing for the 100 per cent target might simply warehouse [homeless people] in temporary accommodation.’
The number of homelessness applications in 2010/11 was 55,227, the lowest since 2003/04.