Scotland set to reach its affordable housing target
New research has suggested that the Scottish Government is on target to reach its affordable housing target to deliver 50,000 homes over the current Parliament.
The detailed analysis shows that at the top end of the predicted numbers of new affordable homes some 49,773 will be delivered, with a lower estimate of 45,387. New build homes will make up 96% of the total programme.
The report, commissioned by the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA), Shelter Scotland and the Human Rights Commission in Scotland, says the £3 billion affordable housing programme is the biggest undertaken since the 1970s and is set to deliver a net increase of 25,000 new homes to Scotland’s social housing stock.
It points out that, while the number of homes being built looks to be close to target, it is not easy to tell whether the right type of homes are being built in the right places. The report points to this as a crucial element in determining the overall success of the programme and calls for more detail in that area.
‘This report is good news for the 137,100 households on council waiting lists and many others waiting for homes with housing associations. It shows that with the right political leadership, Scotland’s social housing sector is ready to rise to the challenge of delivering the largest increase in social sector homes since the 1970s,’ said Graeme Brown, director of Shelter Scotland.
‘Within our grasp, for the first time in a generation, is a significant increase in the affordable homes that so many badly need. However, whilst the headlines numbers are very encouraging, it is not yet clear if the right sort of homes are being built in the right places where people want to live. We need more detail and clarity on that crucial element of this programme,’ he added.
Housing Associations have faced challenges, according to Sally Thomas, chief executive of the SFHA, such as the availability and cost of land. ‘Housing associations and co-operatives have proven that when set increased targets and given additional funding, they will deliver,’ she explained.
‘However, the report also found that it is difficult to fully assess what type of housing is being built and where. In order to ensure that the correct type of housing is built, for example, for people with additional support needs, and in the areas where it is needed, this must be addressed, and this report is the first step in achieving this,’ she pointed out.
‘While the Scottish Government’s increased target and funding is very welcome, we would like to see all political parties commit to long term funding of affordable housing beyond the lifetime of the current parliament if we are to ensure that we solve the housing crisis and deliver the homes that will be required by future generations. With this in mind, we are already discussing this with the Government,’ she added.