Organisations call for affordable home builds to be at heart of Scotland’s Covid-19 recovery

SHELTER Scotland has joined the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA) and the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) in calling for the Scottish Government to commit to delivering 53,000 new affordable homes from 2021-2026.

The call comes following a release of the Affordable Housing Need in Scotland Post-2021 academic study which found that increasing affordable housing supply levels from the current target of 50,000 homes a year to 53,000 will help to address existing, as well as newly arising need from 2021.

The report states that some 200,000 construction jobs would be created through the build of the homes which would boost the economy by £2 billion and raise £100 million in tax revenues.

The three organisations are now calling on all political parties to commit to a capital investment programme of £3.4 billion over five years to ensure that affordable housing is at the heart of social justice and child poverty programme and Scotland’s recovery from Covid-19.

Shelter director, Alison Watson, said, “This research backs up what we know from our work with people who contact our services every day, desperate for a home that they can keep and that keeps them safe and well.

“These numbers make it clear – Scotland still faces a significant backlog from years of under-investment in affordable and social housing. A legacy which leaves people facing homelessness living for months, or even years, in temporary accommodation.

“The current affordable housing programme has brought security and stability to tens of thousands of people and hope to all who need social housing. To right the wrongs of the past, and to help our economy and communities recover from the pandemic, we must keep building.”

Sally Thomas, SFHA chief executive, added, “We acknowledge the progress the Scottish Government had made regarding housing need in Scotland since 2015, and towards meeting the existing 50,000 affordable homes target, before the programme was paused due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“Committing to this new target, and building affordable housing, must be at the heart of Scotland’s recovery as part of a government and public sector-led approach, ensuring everyone has the home they need and, at the same time, giving confidence to full-scale economic renewal.

“A home has never been more important. This crisis has opened everyone’s eyes to the value of a safe, warm and affordable home. Housing associations and co-operatives will work with the Scottish Government to continue to provide the homes that are needed as the country recovers.”