Scottish Borders Council declares housing emergency

The news comes after a report to Scottish Borders Council’s executive committee revealed temporary housing is at an all-time high and plans to build 184 affordable homes are unlikely to be met.

The latest Figures from Public Health Scotland highlight the dire state of housing in the country. The data shows that almost one in 20 people in the country are on a waiting list for a social home, there are 30,000 homeless households and nearly 10,000 children growing up in temporary accommodation.

brown concrete building near body of water during daytime

Against this backdrop, the Scottish Borders Council have declared a housing emergency. The local authority heard that the number of applications for social housing properties has doubled in five years – with Scottish Boarders Housing Association receiving 104 bids for just five new homes at its latest development in Kelso.

Julie Pirone, cllr for Tweeddale East, is among officials who support the declaration. She claimed it’s about time the local authority addressed the housing issues and started to think about people who could end up ‘homeless’.

‘I believe quite strongly that we are in a housing emergency,’ Cllr Pirone said. ‘Everyday I get calls from people who cannot get on the housing ladder who are young. I get calls from people who are in overcrowded accommodation that can’t get moved and they want to be able to stay here and they want to have good housing.’

Cllr Pirone added: ‘We need to make sure we have more innovation in the housing market and to ask our governments, both of them, to support what we do.

‘We also have to think about those that are homeless and the refugees and the Ukrainians who also really love our region and want to stay, but who we are struggling to find homes for too.’

Echoing a similar tone, Cllr Stuart Marshall, has also expressed his sorrow regarding the current housing situation.

‘Never in 17 years of representing the ward of Hawick and Denholm can I think of receiving so many desperate pleas from parents and guardians regarding not only their desperate situation to get out of their property and into another one because of over-crowding, but just because of the appalling condition of their properties as well,’ Cllr Marshall said. ‘I deal with issues every single day with registered social landlords and private landlords regarding over-crowding, ageing windows, faulty heating, failed heating systems.’

The Scottish Borders Council has become the sixth local authority in the country to declare a housing emergency with Argyll and Bute, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Fife and West Dunbartonshire making similar declarations within the past year.

Image: Bayo Adegunloye

More on this topic:

Scotland’s new budget is ‘extremely disappointing’, COSLA says

One in five international students in Scotland experience homelessness

Emily Whitehouse
Writer and journalist for Newstart Magazine, Social Care Today and Air Quality News.


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