Established 2005 Registered Charity No. 1110656

Scottish Charity Register No. SC043760

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Private Sector Leasing

May 24 2009
PSL has helped 1,500 of Edinburgh‘s homeless population in three years An Edinburgh scheme which houses the capital's homeless in private flats and houses is set to be expanded as city leaders struggle to meet demand for affordable housing. Around 1,500 of the city's homeless population has been housed using Private Sector Leasing (PSL) over the past three years. The initiative works by the city council leasing properties from private owners for up to five years and then letting them, at a subsidised rate, to people who are homeless. City leaders claim the scheme has proven to be an important first step in getting the homeless into more permanent, unsubsidised, affordable housing. The slowdown in the construction industry due to the recession, coupled with an urgent need for some 12,000 affordable homes in Edinburgh, means council chiefs are planning to snap up more private properties to house the homeless. Council statistics show that 42 per cent of households currently living in PSL homes are working, compared to just 17 per cent of homeless people living in temporary accommodation such as B&Bs. Moves to expand the PSL scheme will help the city council meet its obligation to provide a home for everyone who is homeless by 2012. A survey carried out by the council claims that around 90 per cent of all landlords and tenants involved in the scheme have had positive experiences. Housing groups today welcomed moves to expand PSL, but insisted that the longer-term goal must still be more affordable housing. Councillor Paul Edie, the city's housing leader, said: "It is an essential part of our strategy to help prevent homelessness in the city and other Scottish local authorities are following our lead by setting up similar schemes. "It is something that has proved to work, for landlords, tenants and neighbours, but it does not distract us from our longer-term goal of building more affordable housing to buy and rent in the city." The council contributes ¬¨¬£2 million a year to putting up homeless people in B&Bs or into privately owned flats because there is not enough homeless accommodation or affordable housing. The council has plans to build around 6700 new affordable homes over the next five years - but can only do so by attracting extra funding from the Scottish Government. The Lib Dem-led administration is also still pressing for the Treasury to cancel the city's housing debt. An average of 130 people bid for every council home that becomes available to let and demand for affordable housing is likely to boom in the coming years.