National acquisition plan
We will invest at least £60 million through the Affordable Housing Supply Programme in 2023-2024 to support a national acquisition plan.
Increasing access to high quality, affordable homes is the best way to reduce the number of people currently in temporary accommodation. The Temporary Accommodation Task and Finish Group recommended that the Scottish Government should urgently introduce a large-scale national acquisition policy and action plan to buy private sector properties.
We will invest at least £60 million from the Affordable Housing Supply Programme in 2023-2024 to support a national acquisition plan. This will enable local authorities and registered social landlords to rapidly acquire properties of the right types and in the right places for use as high quality, affordable, permanent homes.
Our national acquisition plan will, through the use of resource planning assumptions, enable local authorities and registered social landlords to purchase appropriate properties, including from private owners, builders and landlords. Where landlords are choosing to leave the private rented sector with a tenant in situ, the plan can accommodate the purchase of these properties, where this meets a clear strategic purpose and where the tenant is at risk of homelessness. Further advice on how this will work in practice is under development and will be communicated in due course.
We will also ask local authorities to identify a single point of contact within the council for people with suitable properties to sell.
Working with registered social landlords, local authorities are expected to fully consider the immediate needs and pressures in their area, and the role that acquiring existing homes can play in meeting local housing requirements. In doing so, we would expect local authorities and registered social landlords to consider the scale and pace at which acquisitions can progress to support broader housing market outcomes, including access to affordable housing with the aim of reducing the use of temporary accommodation.
Children in temporary accommodation
The Temporary Accommodation Task and Finish Group was asked to consider ways to reduce the high number of children in temporary accommodation, some of whom are in temporary accommodation for long periods. The number of children in temporary accommodation increased by 10% from 30 September 2021 (8,285) to 30 September 2022 (9,130).
The Scottish Government recognises that lengthy stays in temporary accommodation can affect the health and wellbeing of families and is concerned at the increase in the number of children in temporary accommodation. We want everyone to have the stability of a settled home that meets their needs and to ensure that the time that is spent in temporary accommodation is as short as possible.
The Scottish Government understands that there is high demand for larger properties to support the rapid transition for households with children from temporary to permanent settled accommodation. Households with children spend longer on average in temporary accommodation because it takes local authorities more time to find the right permanent home for families, partly due to the demand for larger homes relevant to supply.
We will support local authorities’ efforts to ensure households with children who have been living in temporary accommodation for a number of years are supported into suitable permanent housing. The national acquisition plan is one of a number of tools to help boost the supply of available affordable housing, including settled family homes.
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