Affordable housing initiative for key workers
Up to £25 million is being made available to help councils identify affordable homes for key workers in rural communities.
The five year initiative, set out in the Scottish Government’s priorities for the next three years, will enable local authorities and registered social landlords to acquire or lease properties which can be used to provide homes to meet the needs of their communities.
From the Affordable Housing Supply Programme £25 million will be made available from 2023-28 to help to make best use of underused or empty properties by making them available for key workers and others in need.
Housing Minister Paul McLennan said:
“Opportunity, equality and community are vital to everyone no matter wherever they live, and we recognise that a tailored approach is needed for our rural areas.
“Good quality affordable housing is essential to attract and retain people in rural communities, particularly in areas where key workers are needed. That’s why we are making up to £25 million available in a dedicated fund to make affordable homes for key workers, such as those working in the public sector and emergency services.
“Delivering affordable homes is a priority for this government. We have committed to delivering 110,000 affordable homes across Scotland by 2032 - with at least 10% in remote, rural and island areas. Our upcoming delivery plan will set out actions to support our rural and island communities including areas such as transport, repopulation and economic development.”
Gail Matheson, CEO at Highland Housing Alliance said:
“Important to future proofing and strengthening the Highland economy is the availability of high-quality and well-priced homes for local workforces. Without the provision of more housing, we risk jeopardising attracting and retaining skilled workers across the region.
“Highland Housing Alliance (HHA) is very pleased to welcome the allocation of dedicated budget for suitable properties in rural areas to be utilised for those who need affordable housing, including key workers.
“Working with Cairngorms Partnership, HHA has helped to provide homes available at mid-market rent in Aviemore and Kincraig specifically for local workers. This is proving to be a huge success with further communities earmarked for development as part of the scheme and we welcome more incentives that mirror its ethos and bridges the gap between demand and supply of affordable housing.”
The definition of key workers is determined by individual local authorities based on local priorities. Local Housing Strategy Guidance sets out how local authorities are expected to take the needs of Key workers into account including through specific policies, including allocations.
£3.5 billion funding is being made available in this Parliamentary term towards the delivery of affordable homes in communities across Scotland including the continued commitment of support of up to £30 million towards a Rural and Island Housing Fund for communities and organisations not able to access traditional affordable housing funding.
Tackling empty homes is a priority for the Scottish Government and this pilot will build upon the work of the Scottish Empty Homes Partnership which has helped bring more than 8,000 homes into use as warm, safe and secure housing.
Further details on the process will be shared with local authorities shortly.