Housing emergency declared by SBC

Friday May 31st 2024


Written by Local Democracy Reporter, Paul Kelly

Yesterday councillors agreed to declare a housing emergency in the Scottish Borders.

Members of Scottish Borders Council approved the move amid severe housing and homelessness pressures, with temporary housing at an all-time high and plans to build 184 affordable homes in the region over the next year unlikely to be achieved.

Meanwhile, the number of applications for social housing properties has doubled in five years – with Scottish Borders Housing Association receiving 104 bids for just five new homes at its latest development in Kelso.

Councillor Julie Pirone supported the declaration, saying: “I believe quite strongly that we are in a housing emergency.

“Everyday I get calls from people who cannot get on the housing ladder who are young. I get calls from people who are in over-crowded accommodation that can’t get moved and they want to be able to stay here and they want to have good housing.

“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.”

Councillor Stuart Marshall said: “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.

“I deal with issues every single day with registered social landlords and private landlords regarding over-crowding, ageing windows, faulty heating, failed heating systems.

“These are all exacerbating the problems that we have got.”

Members unanimously agreed to the declaration of a housing emergency.

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