Housing and Homelessness

The Housing (Scotland) Act 2001 requires all local authorities to assess the levels of homelessness in their area and produce homelessness strategies. In 2014, updated guidance for local authorities on Local Housing Strategies stated that as the sole strategic document on housing and housing related services, homelessness strategies should be incorporated into the LHS.

Priority Outcome 3: Homelessness is prevented as far as possible, with appropriate support in place to promote positive health and tenancy sustainment.

Homelessness challenges remain significant in East Lothian, especially due to the lack of affordable housing and geographic pressures.


During Winter 2017, the Scottish Government set up the Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Action Group (HARSAG) to recommend actions and solutions needed to eradicate rough sleeping and transform the use of temporary accommodation in Scotland. One of the key recommendations which has been accepted by Scottish Government, was the roll out of Rapid Rehousing in all local authorities. This is the process where settled mainstream accomodation is the first response to homelessness.

To achieve Rapid Re-housing, all local authorities were required to submit a Rapid Re-housing Transition Plan by end of December 2018 to set out how they will transition to the new approach. This requires a significant culture shift in East Lothian, and with housing supply challenges, will require all departments to work together to find innovative solutions. 

Strategic Actions

Our Draft Rapid Rehousing Transition Plan sets out the key aims; 

  • Create 860 new tenancies (over and above 2017/18 levels) 
  • Create an additional 102 units of new affordable housing supply
  • Re-designate 150 temporary units as permanent accommodation 
  • Reduce temporary furnished flats from 332 to 182      
  • Reduce length of stay in B&B to a maximum of 7 days for all households  
  • Reduce length of stay to a maximum of 9 months in temporary accommodation 
  • Create 50 Housing First placements