THE City of Edinburgh Council is set to formally declare a housing emergency amid a “crisis” in the public and private sectors.

The council’s housing convener Jane Meagher will table a motion on Thursday which will cite the capital’s record homelessness figures along with a severe shortage of social rented homes and spiralling rental costs.  

The BBC reports that the Scottish Government is expected to be urged to provide extra resources to help meet the “severe challenges”.

Housing Minister Paul McLennan said “tackling homelessness is a key priority” for the Scottish Government.

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The motion is expected to receive cross-party support with the latest figures showing around 5000 households in Edinburgh are in temporary accommodation.

The council – which is run by a minority Labour administration – said around 200 bids are made for each social rented home that is made available.

McLennan said the Scottish Government was making £3.5 billion available over this parliamentary term to support the delivery of 110,000 affordable homes by 2032, with 70% of those for social rent.

He said: “This includes investing at least £60m to help local authorities and registered social landlords acquire properties for use as high quality, affordable, permanent homes.

“Rapid Rehousing Transition Plans play an important role in Scotland’s homelessness strategy and aim to reduce the need for temporary accommodation.

“We have provided local authorities with £52.5m between 2018 and 2024 for their plans to support people into settled accommodation.”

Charity Shelter Scotland meanwhile said the move would be “an important moment for the fight against housing injustice in Edinburgh”.

The charity’s director Alison Watson said: “Councillors have an opportunity to show residents they understand out-of-control rents are making it impossible for many to stay here, that homelessness is devastating lives across the capital, and that they’re determined to do all they can to fix a broken and biased housing system.

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“We know there are things beyond the council’s control, we understand that both the Scottish and UK governments can do more, but things can’t go on as they are.

“Business as usual isn’t working and all levels of government must respond.”

She urged councillors to back the motion and warned the declaration “can’t be the end of the story; it must be the start”.