CIH Scotland welcomes proposals to improve temporary accommodation standards
Proposals to improve standards of accommodation and ensure that no homeless household spends long periods of time in unsuitable accommodation are to be supported but the Scottish Government must provide adequate support, resources and time for local authorities to meet new obligations, according to CIH Scotland.
A government consultation on temporary accommodation standards proposes extending the Unsuitable Accommodation Order (UAO), which puts a seven-day limit on the time that households can spend in ‘unsuitable’ accommodation, to all households. The UAO currently only applies to pregnant women and households with children.
It is also suggested that advisory minimum standards for temporary accommodation should be introduced, followed by mandatory standards at a later date.
In its response to the consultation, CIH Scotland welcomed the measures but warned that local authorities will need time and resources to meet the new requirements.
Policy and practice manager, Ashley Campbell, said: “We absolutely support measures to improve the condition of temporary accommodation and want to see a move towards better minimum standards of housing across all tenures, regardless of how long a household might be staying there. Poor housing can make a difficult situation much worse and we need to make sure that everyone can access decent accommodation when they need it. We also agree that standards shouldn’t be just about the physical condition of the property. Temporary homes need to be located close to schools, employment, family or other networks so that if a household loses their home, they can maintain some continuity in other aspects of their life.
“However, local authorities will need time and resources to make changes to the way that temporary accommodation is used and to ensure alternatives are in place if needed. Local Authorities have already committed to reducing the use of temporary accommodation with actions set out in their five-year Rapid Rehousing Transition Plans. We would like to see timescales for any changes aligned as far as possible with these existing plans.”