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Parliamentary Debates and Questions

S5W-13290: Graham Simpson (Central Scotland)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 11 December 2017

To ask the Scottish Government, further to the answer to question S5W-09054 by Kevin Stewart on 29 September 2017, in light of its aim to eradicate rough sleeping, for what reason it does not collect this data, and whether it will consider doing so to assist in determining where the strains are for each local authority.

Answered by: Kevin Stewart 21 December 2017

Question S5W-09054 asked the Scottish Government how many homeless people have been housed by a local authority in accommodation outside of its area in each of the last three years, and the answer stated that Scottish Government do not collect data on the geographical location of where homeless people have been housed by a local authority.

Section 9.79 of the Code of Guidance on Homelessness 2005 states that as a general rule a local authority should always rehouse a homeless household within its own area, particularly where temporary accommodation is being provided. However that in rare cases, such as those involving domestic abuse, external violence or where there is for example local hostility to an ex-prisoner, the local authority may need to consider placing homeless people in another area, although this should only be done with the household’s consent, and the local authority should retain responsibility for such outplacements. In some cases such an outplacement may be nearer to the applicant's home area than a placement elsewhere in the local authority's area, and may provide suitable accommodation or access to healthcare which is not currently available in the placing local authority's area.

Given the different potential reasons for housing households outwith local authority areas, for example cases that may involve domestic violence issues or local hostility, it is unlikely that a count of the number of cases housed outwith authority areas would be suitable to be used on its own as a direct indicator of strains on local authority service provision.

The Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Action Group has been set up to lead on change and to identify the actions, services and any legislative changes required to end rough sleeping and to transform the use of temporary accommodation. As part of this work the group will be considering the evidence and sets of data that will be required to be able to assess particular issues and to measure progress and impact going forward. We expect the group to conclude their work by late Spring 2018.