Private landlords could help end homelessness, say campaigners

Campaign group sets out how private rented sector could become more accessible for people experiencing homelessness.

Private landlords could help end homelessness amid social housing crisis, say campaigners STV News

Private landlords could help end homelessness in Scotland, according to a report by housing experts.

The Everyone Home Collective has set out how the private rented sector could become a more accessible option for people experiencing homelessness, amid a crisis in social housing.

The lobby group, made up of 40 charities and academics, urged the Scottish Government to work with the private rental sector (PRS), and to promote it as a viable option, as well as working with councils.

The report found that widening access to support and advice in private lets would help make the sector more accessible.

It was suggested landlords could be incentivised to improve access and affordability to lower income households.

Demographics more at risk of eviction should be “targeted” to address those issues, with additional social security made available to top up support, it was recommended.

The group welcomed the Scottish Government’s commitment to build 110,000 affordable homes by 2032, a mid-term commitment that would result in the delivery of 38,500 social homes by 2026.

Sarah Walters, head of best practice at homelessness charity Crisis, said: “Social housing plays a vital role in helping people end their homelessness.

“But while for many people a social tenancy is the right option, with better support we know the private rented sector could play a far greater role in helping people find a safe, secure place to live.

“With numbers of people trapped in temporary accommodation at an all-time high, and a shortage of affordable housing, we need to use every option available and the private rented sector can help.

“People experiencing homelessness deserve the same choice and control as anyone else, but we know that they are far too often locked out of the private rented sector.

“By reducing barriers and providing support, we can help people end their homelessness and strengthen our communities.”

Maggie Brunjes, chief executive of Homeless Network Scotland, said: “There are many factors that influence the choices we make about our housing.

“From size and type, to location and accessibility, to time and cost.

“People who experience homelessness must have access to the same range of housing options as other members of the public.

“For some people, the private rented sector offers the right choice, in the right place, at the right time.

“For this reason, it is in everyone’s interest to work together to ensure the PRS is a viable and affordable option.”

The Scottish Government has been contacted for comment.

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