While Scotland should be rightly proud of its strong housing and homelessness rights, we have record numbers of households in temporary accommodation and new build programmes cannot always keep pace with the demand for affordable housing. In ‘Equality, opportunity, community’, the Scottish Government has committed to work with partners, including local government, to identify ways to reduce the number of people living in temporary accommodation, taking account of the recommendations of the Temporary Accommodation Task and Finish Group. Recommendation 2 of the Temporary Accommodation Task and Finish Group suggested that “the Scottish Government should urgently introduce a large-scale national acquisition policy and action plan to buy private sector properties”.
The establishment of the National Acquisition Programme – backed by investment of at least £60 million from local authority resource planning assumptions within the Affordable Housing Supply Programme – is one of a number of actions the Scottish Government will prioritise in 2023-24 to help to reduce the number of households in temporary accommodation.
Homes funded through the National Acquisition Programme and the wider Affordable Housing Supply Programme should be allocated (a) in line with the legal framework for social housing allocations – including to those living under unsatisfactory housing conditions such as unsuitable or temporary accommodation – and (b) in accordance with individual social landlord’s allocation policies. Although the main aim of the National Acquisition Programme and the wider Affordable Housing Supply Programme is to help increase the availability of permanent homes, to meet local needs and to reduce the numbers of households in temporary accommodation, in certain circumstances it may be appropriate for properties to be used as suitable temporary accommodation. The relevant Scottish Government More Homes Division area team, or TMDF authority in the case of Edinburgh and Glasgow, should be contacted to discuss such requests.
The National Acquisition Programme builds on our current support for the acquisition of existing properties through the Affordable Housing Supply Programme. The Rural Key Workers Housing Fund is being funded separately and over a different timescale, however, we would expect both funds to be supported by the same overarching approach to acquisitions (see Annex A).
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