Borders homeless figures increase

editorial image

The number of Borders households threatened with homelessness has risen, according to a new report. In 2017/18, Scottish Borders Council assessed 700 households under homelessness legislation - 590 considered homeless or threatened with homelessness - the highest number of applications received since the legislation came into force.

Those assessed as homeless are offered temporary accommodation, with the average length of stay in the Borders reaching 118 days.

A report on the local housing strategy was presented to councillors at - a meeting of Scottish Borders Council’s executive committee by the authority’s senior housing strategy officer Donna Bogdanovic.

She told councillors: “The council and its partners have made excellent progress since the local housing strategy was formally approved by council.

“Work includes the delivery of 145 new affordable homes, development and launch of a new 10-year integrated strategic plan for older people’s housing care and support, with four extra care developments already underway and 85 major adaptations being completed.

“The bedding in of the new customer advice and support services has seen an encouraging drop in the number of homelessness presentations in 2017-2018 and the submission of a very ambitious strategic housing investment plan, underpinned by up to a record £174.5m of investment, are just some of the main achievements in the first year of the local housing strategy.”

A Scottish Borders Council spokesperson said: “The 700 statutory homelessness applications received during 2017/2018 was the highest number received since 2010/2011.  

“However, this was only seven applications more than was received in 2016/2017 and is the same level of change as across Scotland nationally during the same period. There are no specific trends which are causing this.   

“If someone is facing homelessness we would encourage them to contact the council’s homelessness team as soon as possible.  

“The homelessness team will help them to try to keep their home by, for example, providing information about housing rights, assisting them to deal with rent or mortgage arrears, or liaising with landlords.

“If homelessness cannot be prevented then the homelessness team will help them to find suitable alternative housing including, if necessary, emergency temporary accommodation.”