Charity calls for seven-day B&Bs limit for homeless

Crisis chief executive Jon Sparkes said that 'Homeless people are being let down across Scotland'. Picture: TSPL
Crisis chief executive Jon Sparkes said that 'Homeless people are being let down across Scotland'. Picture: TSPL
0
Have your say

A homelessness charity wants Scottish ministers to put a seven-day limit on the use of unsuitable temporary homeless accommodation, such as B&Bs.

Crisis surveyed homeless people living in B&Bs, hotels or unsupported hostels in six council areas and found many felt isolated and depressed and were subject to curfews and bans on visits.

The interviews with 74 people in Aberdeenshire, Edinburgh, East Lothian, Glasgow, Highland and Midlothian found 60 per cent were subject to a curfew and three-quarters were not allowed visits from family or friends.

More than four in five (84 per cent) said they felt isolated and almost nine in ten (88 per cent) felt depressed due to their living situation.

Just under half (45 per cent) of those interviewed said they had no access to a kitchen, causing more than half to regularly skip meals; four in ten said this happened daily or most days.

Slightly more than a third (34 per cent) of people had no access to a fridge.

One of those interviewed, Katie, has been stuck in a bed-and-breakfast for more than a year.

She said: “It’s really depressing and you’re just stuck there and you don’t even have any cooking facilities – all you’ve got is a kettle and that’s it.

“So when you’re on a budget, how can you eat properly? You can’t.”

Crisis wants the Scottish Government to commit to changing the law this parliamentary year to bring in a seven-day limit for the use of unsuitable temporary accommodation for homeless people.

A week-long restriction is in place for families and pregnant women but there is no limit for other homeless people, who can be stuck in such accommodation for long periods.

Ministers have accepted in principle the recommendation of the Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Action Group that the seven-day limit should apply to all homeless people but there has been no indication yet of when this might happen.

Official statistics show a 
9 per cent increase in 
homeless B&B use in Scotland from 2016/17 to 2017/18, with 1,215 people accommodated there at any one time, up from 1,113.

In 2017/18 4,730 households entered B&B accommodation but only 2,510 left.

Crisis chief executive Jon Sparkes said: “Access to housing is a human right, yet this report shows that homeless people are being let down across Scotland, trapped in inhumane conditions for far too long.

“Lengthy stays in B&Bs, unsupported hostels or hotels are destructive, demoralising and stop people moving on with their lives.

“We know councils are working on rapid rehousing plans that will enable homeless people to be housed faster, but there must be a legal backstop which will restrict the use of unsuitable temporary housing to just seven days for everyone.”

Housing Minister Kevin Stewart said: “We are investing £6.5 million to support a Housing First approach, which focuses on getting a person into settled accommodation first so they can then access support from the security of their own home.”