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Scottish Charity Register No. SC043760

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Shock over Highland B&B figures

September 30 2010
Dire shortage of temporary accommodation and affordable housing blamed

The number of homeless families living in bed and breakfast accommodation in the Highlands is three times greater than in Glasgow, according to government statistics released in September.

Across the Highlands, which has a population of about 220,000 people, 342 homeless households are in B&Bs. In Glasgow, with a population of around 590,000, the figure is only 105.

Mary Scanlon, Conservative MSP for the Highlands and Islands, was "shocked" by the statistics and has written to the council urging them to review their homeless policy: "I have had several families contact me over the years saying they have been in bed and breakfast accommodation for months on end, all living in one bedroom."

The director of homeless charity Shelter Scotland, Graeme Brown, also commented on the findings: "These figures highlight the dire shortage of temporary accommodation and affordable housing available in the Highland area."

A report by the Highland Council's head of housing, David Goldie, said that the current accommodation budget for homeless services stands at around £2 million, and there were about 1,300 homeless households in temporary accommodation at the end of July. A spokeswoman said that large cities such as Glasgow had more scope to use existing council accommodation and that the Highland Council faced a bigger challenge this year because the number of people they are responsible for had increased in line with the recession.

The Highlands Council's Housing and Social Work Committee scheduled an emergency meeting last month to discuss the report.