SNP ministers have been urged to confirm funding for a “vital programme” in Edinburgh next year after the capital’s homelessness convener issued a warning over the “uncertainty” of the project continuing.

The appeal comes after Edinburgh saw a 30% rise in the number of homeless households from 2022/23 under new statistics revealed by the Scottish Government this week.

Last year in Edinburgh, a total of 3,815 homeless assessments were completed – more than in the previous three years.

Council officials said the figure “represents a return to pre-Covid levels” following a “significant reduction” during 2020/21.

As of 31 March 2023, there were 5,952 homelessness cases where Edinburgh City Council had “a duty to secure settled housing” – a 12% increase from 2022 when there were 5,315 cases.

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The capital city has also seen a rising number of people housed in temporary accommodation.

As of 31 March, 2023, 4,784 people in Edinburgh were in temporary accommodation - a 2% rise from 2020/21 and a 34% rise compared to 31 March 2020.

On March 31, 2023, 1,440 households that included children were in temporary accommodation – more than double the number from the same date in 2019. A total of 2,755 children were in temporary accommodation on March 31, 2023 in Edinburgh.

Concerns have been raised that the Scottish Government is yet to confirm whether funding for the city council’s rapid rehousing transition plan will be handed over for the next financial year.

The policy aims to prevent homelessness in the first place, ensuring that where temporary accommodation is required it will meet the needs of the household.

The strategy focuses on supporting people to access settled accommodation as quickly as possible and reduce the number of people sleeping rough.

Read more: SNP's 'transformative' homeless prevention plan needs funding

For the 2022/23 financial year, Edinburgh City Council received £772,000 from the Scottish Government for the policy.

Council officials have claimed “the initial commitment” from SNP minister was to provide funding “until 21 March, 2024”.

They added: “Officers are in discussion with Scottish Government to seek clarity on the position beyond this point.”

Jane Meagher, the city council’s housing, homelessness and fair work convener, said: “We’ve doubled the council’s homelessness budget however we still face huge challenges with the country’s homelessness crisis growing.

“For Edinburgh, this crisis is twinned with our unique housing pressures - with the lowest proportion of social housing in the country and some of the highest private rents.

“We also face uncertainty because national funding beyond 2023/24 for our Rapid Rehousing Transition Plan is not confirmed.

“Officers are in discussion with Scottish Government to seek clarity on the position beyond this point."

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Matt Downie, chief executive of Crisis, said: “Scotland has some of the strongest rights in the world for people experiencing homelessness, but the system needs adequate long-term funding.

“It’s vital that local authorities like Edinburgh get clarity over the future of rapid rehousing transition plans. The latest figures show there are now record numbers of people in temporary accommodation – including children – while numbers in the system overall are at their highest since records began.

“We urgently need the Scottish Government to introduce new measures to prevent homelessness, alongside the resourcing that local authorities and others will need to make sure they work.”

Scottish Labour housing spokesperson Mark Griffin said "It beggars belief that the SNP Government is refusing to rule out cutting this vital funding as homelessness in Edinburgh spirals out of control.

"This week's damning homelessness figures highlighted the urgent need to ramp up action to help people into a safe, permanent home - but it seems even existing schemes aren't safe. "The SNP Government must pledge to continue funding this vital programme and set out what more they will do to tackle these scandalous levels of homelessness in Edinburgh and across Scotland."

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “Since 2018/19 local authorities have received £47 million for rapid rehousing, with Edinburgh City Council receiving £5 million in that time.

“We remain committed to supporting local authorities to transition to rapid rehousing and reducing the number of households in temporary accommodation in Edinburgh. Future budgets will be set out in the normal manner.”