Associate feature: Building affordable housing must be at the heart of Scotland’s recovery from COVID-19
While there are many lessons to take from the coronavirus crisis, one surely has to be that it has shown just how important our homes are. They are the places where we are living, working, and trying to keep ourselves and our families healthy. Many of us have been lucky enough to be able to do this, however, for many others, the effects of the crisis have left them in housing need.
In June, SFHA, Shelter Scotland and CIH Scotland launched new research into housing need in Scotland between 2021–2026, and we are calling on the next Scottish Government to commit to delivering 53,000 affordable homes, backed up by a capital investment programme of £3.4 billion over five years.
The report, Affordable Housing Need in Scotland Post-2021, found that increasing affordable housing supply levels from the current target of 50,000 homes, over five years, to 53,000 will help to address existing, as well as newly arising, need from 2021.
Building affordable homes has many economic and social benefits"
While the study was carried out before the pandemic, the effects of Covid-19 mean that a commitment from all political parties to the new target is vital in order to help rebuild Scotland’s economy, create jobs and reinvigorate communities.
Building affordable homes has many economic and social benefits. The Scottish Government estimates that its current programme will, ultimately, deliver 10,000 jobs in the construction and related industries and leverage economic output of £1.4 billion per year.
Affordable homes also help to reduce poverty. In 2019, research by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation found that poverty levels are significantly lower in Scotland, compared to the rest of the UK, due to lower housing costs, particularly in the social rented sector.
The need for affordable housing is greater than ever – both for Scotland’s people and its economy. If there was ever a time for a commitment to invest in affordable housing, it is now.
This piece was sponsored by the Scottish Federation Of Housing Associations