Housing should be at heart of any loneliness and isolation strategy, says CIH Scotland
The Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) has called for more innovative policies to address loneliness in Scotland, recommending that the Scottish Government continues to invest in social housing organisations to allow them to provide vital support services to their tenants and communities while keeping rents affordable.
In its response to the Scottish Government’s consultation, CIH Scotland also notes that co-housing communities often support strong networks with residents, providing mutual support and the opportunity for social interaction. However, they add that barriers including access to capital and land availability are inhibiting their development.
They recommend the Scottish Government develops a framework to support people who are considering this option and that it is informed by established co-housing models in Europe and the rest of the world.
Policy and practice manager, Ashley Campbell, said: “The links between home, health and loneliness are undeniable. Co-housing is common across much of Europe, North America and Japan and helps prolong independence and reduce loneliness as it allows residents to take control and decide how they want to live their lives. Indeed today, 1% of the Danish population, about 50,000 people, live in co-housing.
“However, the establishment of co-housing options in Scotland has been slow. While one group is making progress towards establishing a new development for older people in Glasgow, often co-housing groups struggle to progress from the initial idea to establishing their community.
“As such, we are calling for the Scottish Government to consider how co-housing groups can be better supported to navigate the process of accessing land, planning and funding. These issues could be addressed through the upcoming local housing strategy guidance or in response to this consultation.
“Every day, social landlords are supporting their tenants and the wider community, and we see co-housing as an extension of this principle by giving people a more direct say in planning ahead and making sure they are actively involved in the long term.”