TENANTS of West Dunbartonshire Council feel the only way to be rehomed is to become homeless, a councillor has claimed.
The local authority’s new housing strategy confirms how the council is planning to address issues and challenges over the next five year period until financial year 2026/27 while tackling the new problems that have arisen since the Covid-19 crisis.
But concerns have been raised by Labour councillor Michelle McGinty, that while helping homeless people find permanent accommodation is a key concern, other residents who also need a more suitable place to live are being put “at risk” by the council’s policy.
During the recent housing and communities committee meeting, councillor McGinty said: “I really do think we need to look at our priority for housing and I know that living in community and knowing people that are on the housing list for a long time, the perception within our community is the only way you will get a house is if you become homeless.
“I totally understand that we have a responsibility to homeless people but it shouldn’t be to the detriment of our tenants who are living in houses which are not suitable for their families.
“We need to relook at what we are doing. There are people that need to be rehoused into suitable accommodation.
“By rehousing some of them into other accommodation we would be freeing up houses for homeless people. We need to make sure that no one is being put at risk by the policies we have in place.”
Chief officer of housing and employability, Peter Barry, said he understood why this was a concern for colleagues.
Mr Barry said: “It is tragic if the perception is the only way people can get a house is through the homeless route because that is not a pleasant thing to do.
“It is really depressing to think that is going through people’s minds. We will absolutely take that on board.”
The strategy will continue to be monitored by the housing team and a report brought back before the committee in May 2023.