Funding Boost for Councils to Tackle Lack of Affordable Housing

Councils across Scotland are to be given a financial boost from the Scottish Government in order to increase the number of affordable and social houses.

£60 million is to be distributed to support a national acquisition plan to increase the supply of social and affordable housing.

Working with local councils and registered social housing landlords the funding can be used to purchase properties including empty homes and private sector homes. Other measures include National Guidance to support people moving from temporary accommodation.

 ALACHO is the Association of Local Authority Chief Housing Officers. John Mills, Co-Chair of ALACHO and joint chair of the Task and Finish Group, said:

“We’re heartened by the Scottish Government’s recognition of the seriousness of the current situation, the damage that is being done to many families living in temporary accommodation for long periods and the increasing challenges councils are facing in meeting their needs.

“We’re particularly pleased by the commitment to a national acquisitions programme to bring more homes into social renting quickly and we look forward to working with the Scottish Government, COSLA and Shelter Scotland to recapture the momentum towards ending homeless that we had pre-pandemic.”

The Temporary Accommodation Task and Finish Group: final report and recommendations was published in March 2023. The report said quite simply:

We need more homes; we need to use the homes we have more effectively and we need to fund services properly to treat people with dignity and respect.

Alison Watson, Director of Shelter Scotland and co-chair of the Temporary Accommodation Task & Finish Group, said that the Scottish Government’s funding boost was a first step in the right direction. She said:

“Scotland is experiencing a housing emergency that is ruining lives.

“At Shelter Scotland, we see the impact of our broken and biased housing system in the work we do with families and individuals trapped in temporary accommodation. When a system isn’t working it is those groups most marginalised – children, disabled people and minoritised ethnic groups – that feel the impact the most.

“That is why I was so honoured to co-chair this expert group which engaged directly with people experiencing homelessness. They identified three key priorities for the Scottish Government. Firstly, buy and build more homes to deal with the current emergency; secondly, prioritise the homes we have for people experiencing homelessness; and finally, fully-fund high-quality services that always treat people with dignity.”

The funding announcement was made by the First Minister of Scotland , Humza Yousaf on 19th of July in response to the recommendations from the task force. He said:

“Housing is crucial to achieving our aspirations of a fairer country. We recognise the varying challenges that exist across Scotland and that these cannot be addressed by a single solution.

“That is why the range of actions we will be taking, including our £60 million plan, will help us effect real change.

Head and shoulders shot of Humza Yousaf

“A great deal of consideration has been given to the best way to reduce the number of households in temporary accommodation. I am thankful to members of the Temporary Accommodation Task and Finish Group and all its contributors for the role they played in shaping the final recommendations.”

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