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Time limits already exist on the use of unsuitable accommodation for families with children and pregnant women. The provision of temporary accommodation is an important part of local authorities’ duties for homeless households in Scotland and provides a vital safety net for those that require it.
The time that is spent in temporary accommodation should be as short as possible, while suitable and sustainable settled accommodation is found. Moving households through temporary accommodation as quickly as possible should be balanced with a person-centred approach that considers the particular needs and housing options of individual households.
Local authorities report significant increases in the length of time that is spent in temporary accommodation. Typical stays in temporary accommodation are now more than seven months, and for some people it can be up to two years. Will the cabinet secretary support a reduction in the length of time that homeless people have to spend in unsuitable temporary accommodation to 14 days? Will she extend provisions on standards in the Homeless Persons (Unsuitable Accommodation) (Scotland) Order 2004 to include single homeless people and families without children?
We are continually reviewing the use of temporary accommodation for all homeless people. From the end of March 2016, local authorities will begin the mandatory collection of information on the length of time that is spent in temporary accommodation. That will help to inform the Scottish Government, in consultation with our stakeholders, about any further steps that it may need to take.
As I said, the length of a temporary accommodation stay for anyone should be as short as possible.