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Scottish Government to provide £60m to buy empty and private sector houses

In an effort to reduce the number of households living in temporary accommodation, Scotland’s First Minister Humza Yousaf has announced a £60m fund to enable councils and registered social landlords to purchase properties including empty homes and private sector homes.

On top of this, he announced plans to work with social landlords to increase allocations to homeless households and to provide national guidance for local authorities to support good practice around changing temporary accommodation into permanent affordable homes.

gray concrete walls with broken floor

Bespoke plans to address specific issues will also be developed with the local authorities with the greatest temporary accommodation pressures.

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 £60 million 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, 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.’

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.

‘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.

‘Today’s announcement is the first step in the right direction to bring down the number of households in temporary accommodation from its current record high. It must not be the last.’

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