Vacant council offices could be converted into homes for the homeless

Midlothian Council is proposing to reuse some of its soon to be vacant office space in Dalkeith into emergency temporary accommodation for homeless households.

Jarnac Court

It has been established that 20 individual rooms with shared facilities could be provided at Jarnac Court in Dalkeith. These would be mainly single person households with a small number for couples. There would also be housing support staff on site. Using Jarnac Court for homeless accommodation would result in an annual reduction in spend on bed and breakfast accommodation and provide a more supportive environment with assistance into employment, education or training opportunities.

Reducing the use of B&B accommodation

The council has been working to make savings by reducing the use of bed and breakfast accommodation and the figure has already dropped from 80 households in 2016 to 45 households in December 2017. This has been achieved by converting existing council owned buildings that are vacant into temporary housing.

Cost effective and great option for reuse

Cllr Stephen Curran, Cabinet Member for Customer and Housing Services said: “We currently have over 1000 homeless households on the Housing List. We need to make increased use of HMO properties in order to provide an alternative to bed and breakfast accommodation. This provides a more appropriate and better quality environment for homeless households and is also cost effective for the council. The current open plan layout of the Jarnac Court offices and the fact that they are on the upper floors means that the re-letting investment potential of the building is limited. This is therefore a great option for reuse.”

Consultation with local community

A consultation exercise will be undertaken with the local community prior to agreement on progressing with works and applying for an HMO License. This accommodation could be open next year subject to obtaining the necessary consents and approvals.

27 Mar 2018