Through the Affordable Housing Supply Programme, the Scottish Government continues to offer funding from the £1.3 million grant award to Veterans Housing Scotland to support it as it progresses proposals to deliver additional homes for disabled ex-Service personnel – potential development opportunities in Wishaw and Brought Ferry are currently being actively discussed and taken forward.
Last year, we reported that we had awarded over £350,000 to East Lothian Council to deliver six homes for Veterans on the site of a former Council depot in Cockenzie (three of which will be fully wheelchair accessible). The homes were due to complete in spring 2020 but were delayed due to COVID-19 restrictions. Completion is now expected towards the end of 2020 with tenants, who will be nominated for the housing by Veterans Housing Scotland, moving in soon after.
The Scottish Government has asked the chair of the Veterans Scotland Housing Group to take forward the work to develop a Veterans homelessness prevention pathway. The knowledge and expertise which will be used to develop this pathway will ensure that the housing system in Scotland responds to the needs of Veterans and prevents homelessness. This work is expected to start towards the end of 2020 and will be supported by the Scottish Government.
Open Market Shared Equity
The Open Market Shared Equity scheme continues to be available to Veterans who have left the Armed Forces within the past two years so that they can buy a home that is for sale on the open market with assistance from the Scottish Government where they cannot afford the total cost. These households have priority access to the scheme, which means that they do not need to be first-time buyers to benefit from it.
Housing to 2040
In 2018-19 Programme for Government, the Scottish Government made a commitment to plan together with stakeholders for how our homes and communities should look and feel in 2040 and the options and choices to get there. In July 2019, the Scottish Government published a draft vision for 2040 and set of guiding principles. The Scottish Government consulted on these and the policy options to make them a reality with a wide range of stakeholders, including Veterans organisations, from 2 December 2019 to 28 February 2020. The Scottish Government is carefully assessing the outputs from the consultation alongside its COVID-19 recovery planning to help inform our Housing to 2040 vision and route map.
The Scottish Government continues to support Housing Options Scotland to provide its Military Matters project. This service focuses on housing issues affecting people serving in the Armed Forces in Scotland; all UK Service personnel transitioning into civilian life in Scotland, and Veterans – helping them to find the right home in the right place. Since it began in 2012, the project has helped over 700 people, with 117 new referrals in 2019-20.