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SFHA AGM calls for more affordable housing

Housing body calls for more affordable housing amid cost-of-living crisis and welcomes new Board members at 48th AGM.
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The Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA) has reflected on the challenges of the cost-of-living crisis and called for more affordable housing as it marked its 48th annual general meeting.

The virtual event, held on Wednesday 11 October, also highlighted how the SFHA supported its members in their response to the current economic climate and detailed its achievements during 2022/23.

With nearly quarter-of-a-million people on Scotland’s social housing waiting list, the SFHA said that affordable social housing was need more than ever before.

The meeting heard from Emma Congreve, Deputy Director of the Fraser of Allander Institute, who noted that despite the huge waiting list, social homes represented less than 25% of Scotland’s overall housing supply compared to over 50% in the 1970s.

The past year saw SFHA adapting its services and ways of working. After exiting the Covid-19 pandemic, it vowed to continue both in-person and virtual options for its high-quality events programme to continue supporting members across Scotland to deliver for their tenants and communities.

Achievements for SFHA during 2022/23 included:

  • securing an agreement from government to an earlier review of the Energy Efficiency Standard for Social Housing, giving social landlords more certainty so that social homes remain the most energy efficient housing in Scotland.
  • stopping counter-productive restrictions on social rent-setting, ensuring that housing associations and co-operatives can keep setting fair, affordable rents in consultation with tenants, enabling them to maintain high standards of housing.
  • allocated close to £10mn to 124 SFHA members for their tenants in partnership with Scottish Government, providing vital support for housing association and co-operative tenants during an unprecedented cost-of-living crisis.

Sally Thomas, SFHA Chief Executive said: “As we reflect on yet another year, and look forward to the year ahead, I’d like to thank our Board, members and staff for their outstanding work in fighting for the interests of the social housing sector.

“Amid the huge challenge of the cost-of-living crisis, I have heard loud and clear from our members that what the sector needs more than anything is stability.

“I was therefore delighted that this year we were finally able to receive confirmation from the Scottish Government that there would be no more rent controls on the social housing sector. The previous restrictions had a serious impact on our members’ ability to deliver the required number of high-quality social homes the country desperately needs.

“The levels of poverty in Scotland after housing costs are lower than in the rest of the UK due to our higher proportion of social housing. But we cannot become complacent.

“The latest quarterly statistics show the number of affordable homes approved at the lowest level since mid-2020 when we were in the grip of the Covid-19 pandemic. The Scottish Government’s target of building 110,000 affordable homes by 2032 has not just stalled but is at risk of going into reverse.

“We need to see their words backed up by deeds or the affordable homes target risks becoming an impossible dream.”

SFHA’s AGM also saw the results of its board election announced.

Gary Dalziel of Elderpark Housing Association and Catherine Rossine of NG Homes will join the board representing the City of Glasgow constituency.

Linda Leslie of Kingdom Housing Association and David Mills of West Granton Housing Co-operative were elected to represent non-urban areas, whilst Karen Eunson of Hjaltland Housing Association was elected to represent the Rural and Islands constituency.

Angela Linton of Hillcrest Homes was re-elected for another term to represent Other Cities.

The board election for the period 2023-24 has been conducted in accordance with the SFHA’s Articles of Association and Election Policy.

 

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