Use of B&Bs for housing the homeless to be restricted

Temporary accomodation

The Scottish Government has announced it will no longer house homeless people in B&Bs for a period of more than seven days

9th September 2019 by Gareth Jones 0 Comments

Plans to restrict the use of B&BS for housing homeless people have been welcomed.

Anyone facing homelessness will spend no longer than a week in unsuitable accommodation like bed and breakfasts under new legislation, following a campaign by homelessness groups.

The seven day limit on unsuitable temporary accommodation, which at present covers families with children and pregnant women, will now be extended to protect everyone at risk of homelessness.

Charities have previously warned people were living in bed and breakfast and hostel rooms for more than a year.

Housing Minister Kevin Stewart said the changes will come into effect from spring 2021.

“We know that people living in these unsuitable environments can for too long often lack cooking or washing facilities, and some have reported that they cannot have visits from family or friends,” he said. “These experiences have a detrimental effect on people’s physical and mental wellbeing, preventing them from rebuilding their lives.

“While temporary accommodation can offer an important emergency safety net for anyone who finds themselves homeless, such as those fleeing domestic violence, it should be a purely temporary measure.

“In Scotland we are already world-leading in tackling homelessness, and now this new legislation, which is a UK first, will make sure that the time anyone spends in unsuitable temporary accommodation is as short as possible before moving to a more appropriate, permanent home.

Jon Sparkes, chief executive of Crisis, welcomed the announcement.

He said: “This marks a major achievement for our Life in Limbo campaign, a three year project which has sought to put an end to lengthy and dehumanising stays in unsupported hostels, hotels and B&Bs. 

“This decision is a recognition of the resolve of our clients to shine a light on the inhumane conditions they were experiencing and the determination to ensure no one else was subjected to these prolonged stays.

“Making sure that everyone has a home where they can begin to rebuild their lives benefits all of us. Once again Scotland has shown it is a world leader in tackling homelessness and this commitment is a major step forward towards it being the first nation in Great Britain to end homelessness for good.”