Yousaf launches £60m fund to acquire empty and private sector homes

The cash will help increase the supply of social and affordable housing, the Scottish Government said.

Humza Yousaf launches £60m to acquire empty and private homes in Scotland for affordable housing Scottish Government

At least £60m will be made available to councils and social landlords to buy empty and private sector houses, the Scottish Government has announced.

The First Minister said the national acquisition plan will help increase the supply of social and affordable housing in Scotland.

Humza Yousaf said it’s in an effort to alleviate the demand for temporary accommodation.

Other measures to reduce the demand will include working with social landlords to increase allocations to homeless households and providing national guidance for local authorities to support good practice around changing temporary accommodation into permanent and affordable homes.

Specific plans for the hardest-hit local authorities will also be developed, the Scottish Government said.

The fund will help alleviate pressure for temporary accommodation in Scotland.Getty Images

The First Minister 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 £60m plan, will help us effect real change.

“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.”

John Mills, 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.”

Alison Watson, director of Shelter Scotland and co-chair of the Temporary Accommodation Task & Finish Group, said: “Scotland is experiencing a housing emergency that is ruining lives.

“By being here today, the First Minister is showing that he is serious about this emergency.

“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.”

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