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Edinburgh set to declare housing emergency

This news post is 8 months old

People can't access social housing or affordable rented accommodation

Pressure from charities and campaigners is expected to result in Edinburgh announcing a housing emergency.

The Edinburgh Poverty Commission joined Shelter, the Poverty Alliance, and other partners in calling on the City of Edinburgh Council to declare the emergency in Scotland’s capital.

Edinburgh Council’s housing convener Jane Meagher will table a motion today (2 November) highlighting a "crisis" in both the public and private sectors.

It will cite the city's record homelessness figures along with a severe shortage of social rented homes and spiralling private rental costs.

The Scottish government is expected to be urged to provide extra resources to help meet the "severe challenges".

Council figures show approximately 5,000 households in the capital are in temporary accommodation, the highest number in Scotland.

The city also has the highest rental inflation rate in the UK at 13.7%.

On average 200 bids are made for each social rented home that becomes available in the city.

Jim McCormick, chair of Edinburgh Poverty Commission and chief executive of the Robertson Trust said: “In recognising the housing emergency in Edinburgh, additional urgent action needs to follow – over and above the steps that have been taken in the last three years. 

“These steps have been firmly in the right direction, but coming on the back of long-term under-investment in truly affordable housing they are clearly not adequate.

“While the city’s firm cross-party commitment to the Edinburgh Poverty Commissions calls to actions is clear, these cannot be achieved without a transformation in the city’s housing system.”

Alison Watson, director of Shelter Scotland, added: "Councillors have an opportunity to show residents they understand that out-of-control rents are making it impossible for many to stay here, that homelessness is devastating lives across the capital, and that they're determined to do all they can to fix a broken and biased housing system.

"We know there are things beyond the council's control, we understand that both the Scottish and UK governments can and must do more, but things can't go on as they are. Business as usual isn't working and all levels of government must respond."