Homeless hostel is due to open this summer

The unit is due to open early this summer.
The unit is due to open early this summer.

Stornoway’s new homeless hostel is expected to open its doors early this summer.

The £2million project to provide an accommodation unit for up to 28 homeless people is nearing completion with Comhairle nan Eilean Siar expecting a handover from the contractor’s Alex Murray (Construction) Ltd in April.

The building, on the site of the former Acres Pitch, is expected to be operational in late May or early June. A team of six staff will manage the building and look after the welfare of the residents.

The Comhairle took forward a project for a dedicated Temporary Accommodation unit in Stornoway due to a rising number of individuals presenting themselves as homeless. The Comhairle has a statutory duty to provide temporary accommodation for all households presenting as homeless.

Demand for temporary accommodation is highest in the Stornoway area, resulting in a great deal of pressure on the Comhairle’s existing temporary accommodation units and a reliance on the use of Bed and Breakfast accommodation. The use of Bed and Breakfast accommodation is also expensive for the council.

Three potential sites in Oliver’s Brae and Marybank were originally identified following an assessment process but objections from the local community meant they were eventually abandoned.

The homeless service in the Western Isles is also thought to have been affected by the introduction of the Bedroom Tax as was highlighted in written evidence to Westminster’s Scottish Affairs Committee by the the Western Isles Forum of Tenants and Residents’ Associations (WIFTRA)

They said at the end of last year that the Tax was causing massive problems to vulnerable people who had been forced to consider refusing housing as they would be deemed to be under-occupying under the new rules, despite there being a shortage of one bedroomed accommodation.

This has meant some Stornoway homeless people have stayed in temporary accommodation for longer than expected.