EU arrivals strain Scottish councils

The number of homeless people in Scotland from the eight countries that joined the European Union in 2004 is increasing and creating problems for some councils, a report claims.

There were 833 homelessness applications in Scotland in 2004-5 from nationals from the eight EU accession states (A8), the study by the Scottish Council for Single Homeless found.

Although this was less than 2 per cent of the total homelessness applications, the SCSH said A8 nationals were particularly vulnerable to homelessness because two-thirds had their housing directly tied to their job.

The councils with the highest proportion of applications were in north east Scotland, Highlands and Islands, and Edinburgh and south east Scotland.

Homeless migrants tended to be male, working-age Poles.

The study also found that half of councils were owed rent money by A8 nationals because some were ineligible for housing benefit. And a quarter were unsure whether they had a duty to house A8 clients.

The SCSH called for the Scottish executive to update its guidance to councils on their responsibilities to A8 nationals who become homeless.

Additional reading
Migration from Eastern Europe: Are councils ready?

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