Homeless delay plans

Thursday September 5th 2019

Midlothian Council

Written by Local Democracy Reporter, Marie Sharp

Homeless families will be given temporary accommodation in a block of flats with a concierge service in a bid to cut the costs of bed and breakfast stays in Midlothian.

New plans to turn a block of eight flats in Mayfield into housing for emergency homeless cases will be put before Midlothian Councils’ cabinet this week.

Families living in the building, on Blackcot Road, Mayfield, will be moved out after agreeing to be relocated.

One resident who refused the offer to move will stay in the property.

The move comes as the local authority reveals its annual bill for bed and breakfast accommodation for homeless families is £250,000.

Plans to convert former offices in Jarnac Court, in Dalkeith, are underway but have been hit with delays which mean they will not be available before August 2020.

A report to councillors says there are currently an average of 47 households staying in bed and breakfast facilities in Midlothian every night.

It said: “These are expensive and not ideally suited for families.

“Sometimes homeless families need to stay in a studio flat until longer accommodation can be sourced.

“Making use of other council-owned buidlings for emergency accommodation would facilitate a signification reduction in spend on bed and breakfast accommodation.”

The report added that using the block of eight maisonettes on Blackcot Road would generate enough income to provide an onsite concierge services within the building.

Two of the flats on the site at number 39 are already empty and approaches by housing officers to the six remaining tenants resulted in five being willing to move.

The report revealed: “One tenant wishes to remain in the building but is supportive of the other properties in the building being used for temporary accommodation.”

The plan, if approved, will see homeless families move into the block from December this year.

Tenants moving out of the block will be given 300 points to put them at the top of the housing list in Midlothian.

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