Housing

Scottish government extends pandemic support for homelessness

The scheme housing people in hotels and B&Bs was set to end in June but will now be maintained until at least September to cut pandemic homelessness

Before the pandemic more than 700 people were sleeping rough per night in Scotland. homelessness

Before the pandemic more than 700 people were sleeping rough per night in Scotland. Image: Graeme Pow/Flickr

The Scottish government will extend measures housing people experiencing homelessness in hotels and B&Bs by three months.

Like the Westminster government’s Everyone In scheme, the programme was introduced at the start of the pandemic to help people off the streets and into safe, self-contained accommodation where they could shelter from Covid-19. It was set to end in June but will now be maintained until September 30.

“Our priority throughout this pandemic has been to keep people safe from COVID-19,” said housing secretary Shona Robison. 

“Temporary accommodation such as hotels and B&Bs can offer an important emergency safety net for anyone who finds themselves homeless, but it should be just that: temporary. 

“We are doing all we can to ensure that people experiencing homelessness are not housed in unsuitable accommodation for any longer than is necessary. However, it is crucial that we help local authorities to keep people safe during the pandemic.” 

Holyrood officials decided to maintain the public health measure “while the path of the pandemic remains uncertain,” Robison added, and will keep the situation under review.

Support The Big Issue and our vendors by signing up for a subscription.

Nearly 17,000 people applied to Scottish councils for housing support between April and September last year, with more than 14,000 households living in temporary accommodation by September – up a quarter after local authorities brought rough sleepers off the streets.

Before the pandemic more than 700 people were sleeping rough per night, according to the Scottish Household Survey, amounting to around 5,400 adults bedding down on the streets per year.

“The Scottish Government has made huge progress in tackling rough sleeping over the past year,” said Jon Sparkes, chief executive for Crisis, speaking today after First Minister Nicola Sturgeon reiterated her new government’s commitment to ending homelessness.

“But if we don’t see new prevention legislation introduced early in this parliament, more people will be forced to go through the trauma of homelessness,” Sparkes added.

“There are already tens of thousands of people trapped in temporary accommodation, often without access to proper cooking and laundry facilities. As the economic impact of the pandemic takes its toll, even more people will be forced into this situation.”

Sturgeon announced £3.5bn in funding to create 100,000 new affordable homes by 2032, with 70 per cent for social rent, as well as £30m to help councils support people from temporary accommodation into permanent homes.

Support the Big Issue

For over 30 years, the Big Issue has been committed to ending poverty in the UK. In 2024, our work is needed more than ever. Find out how you can support the Big Issue today.
Vendor martin Hawes

Recommended for you

View all
Over 90,000 households threatened with no-fault evictions since Tories promised to ban them
Renters angry at no-fault evictions, Renters Reform Bill delay and a lack of rent controls
RENTING

Over 90,000 households threatened with no-fault evictions since Tories promised to ban them

Starmer warned over glaring omission in Labour's six general election pledges: 'I'm disappointed'
Housing crisis

Starmer warned over glaring omission in Labour's six general election pledges: 'I'm disappointed'

Scottish government is declaring a national housing emergency – but what does it actually mean?
Scottish first minister John Swinney
Housing

Scottish government is declaring a national housing emergency – but what does it actually mean?

Home Office drops plan to arrest homeless people if they smell
Homelessness

Home Office drops plan to arrest homeless people if they smell

Most Popular

Read All
Renters pay their landlords' buy-to-let mortgages, so they should get a share of the profits
Renters: A mortgage lender's window advertising buy-to-let products
1.

Renters pay their landlords' buy-to-let mortgages, so they should get a share of the profits

Exclusive: Disabled people are 'set up to fail' by the DWP in target-driven disability benefits system, whistleblowers reveal
Pound coins on a piece of paper with disability living allowancve
2.

Exclusive: Disabled people are 'set up to fail' by the DWP in target-driven disability benefits system, whistleblowers reveal

Cost of living payment 2024: Where to get help now the scheme is over
next dwp cost of living payment 2023
3.

Cost of living payment 2024: Where to get help now the scheme is over

Strike dates 2023: From train drivers to NHS doctors, here are the dates to know
4.

Strike dates 2023: From train drivers to NHS doctors, here are the dates to know