Incomers do not jump the housing queue, insists Wishart
The council has laid to rest the “myth” that incomers are jumping ahead of people on the housing list.
Allan Wishart said he regularly heard comments that newcomers to the isles were being given preferential treatment by the SIC’s housing department.
His comments came at today’s executive committee meeting in the town hall, where councillors were shown the SIC’s policies on homelessness and temporary accommodation.
Concerns were raised last week that new rules due to come into force next year could lead to a shortage in temporary accommodation.
Mr Wishart told fellow members many people had a perception of “anti-discrimination” in the council.
“I get a lot of enquiries about housing, and one thing that’s often said when people are upset or distressed is an allegation of people coming in through the south mouth and getting one straight away. That needs to be put to rest.”
Head of housing Anita Jamieson said the council had to deal with every homeless presentation “in accordance with statutory guidance”.
Other members said they had heard similar comments from their own constituents.
Cecil Smith said he regularly faced enquiries. “My answer is a policy and procedure is in place. It’s the most we can ever do.”
Caroline Miller jumped to the council’s defence over its record on homelessness.
“I’m proud that we live in a society that takes care of folk who don’t have a roof over their heads. We’ve come on leaps and bounds in those whole country over the last 50 years. I can remember as a child seeing folk living in cardboard boxes. It’s great that we look after folk.”
Mr Wishart insisted his comments were not a criticism of the council’s housing department.
“I’m just trying to kill the impression that there is some sort of favouritism,” he said.