May 24th 2009
Figures just published show Edinburgh is paying to house more than four times as many homeless people as anywhere else in Scotland. By the latest reckoning, 900 people were placed in privately rented accommodation last year by the city council, compared to around 200 in Glasgow. Politicians and charities alike have continued to call for the construction of more council and social housing, but with building firms downing tools due to the credit crunch, the picture is likely to get worse.
Edinburgh council contributes ¬¨¬£2 million a year to housing homeless people temporarily, either in B&Bs or in private flats, because there is simply not enough affordable housing available. While many areas in Scotland seem to be on the way to reaching the 2012 target of zero homelessness, including East, West and Midlothian, at its current pace Edinburgh will fall far short of the target.
Leith councillor Gordon Munro, who has campaigned for more social housing, said: "It‚Äö?Ñ?¥s partly down to the capital city effect as well. More people are coming from other areas into Edinburgh because they know they‚Äö?Ñ?¥re more likely to get put in decent accommodation, and possibly quicker."