West Lothian Council reveals new £4m homelessness plan

West Lothian Council has announced a new £4 million plan to help tackle the increasing problem of homelessness amongst young people.

The council will develop a new 12-person supported housing unit in Deans, Livingston, to replace the existing homelessness facilities in Newlands House, Bathgate.

The current Bathgate facility is too small to meet the increasing demand or new regulations that the council must address in providing temporary accommodation by 2021.

West Lothian has the third-highest rate of youth homelessness in Scotland and is plagued by a history of large numbers of homeless presentations by young people. The percentage of applicants from the 16-25 age group is drastically higher than the national average.

New regulations will mean that any people experiencing homelessness cannot be housed in B&B’s for any longer than seven days. Currently, this ruling only applies to families and pregnant women.

Ann Marie Carr, head of housing, told the year-end meeting of the executive that additional funding may also become available from the Scottish Government to help build 12 to 16 flats for young people at the new site in Livingston.

Ms Carr said: “This could provide housing for young people who require less intensive support but are still able to access the services that the new unit would provide. The proposal would be to support more young people through their housing journey than can be undertaken at Newlands.”

The new temporary accommodation centre will include 12 self-contained flats.

Mrs Carr added that due to high levels of demand, officers decided that the best option for Newlands House would be to transform the building into four self-contained flats.

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