Edinburgh unveils new strategy to deliver 8,000 affordable homes

The City of Edinburgh Council has set out plans on the delivery of a new-look housing strategy which aims to significantly increase the number of new affordable homes in the city from 3,000 to 8,000 and accelerate investment in the services that will reduce tenants’ cost of living.

report to the council’s health, social care and housing committee yesterday outlined the progress on the Revenue Account (HRA) Budget Strategy as well as the increased pace of investment in improving the security and modern facilities of homes and neighbourhoods - in line with tenants’ wishes.

The strategy has been developed in consultation with tenants, who in the biggest response ever clearly indicated that the new strategy should focus on building a minimum of 8,000 new affordable homes over the next 10 years while continuing to reduce the cost of living for tenants and improve their lives.

Leading the council’s aim to deliver services locally and closer to customers, the report sets out plans to deliver housing services in around 100 localities or ‘patches’.

Officers will have a highly visible, more generic, role involved in all aspects of housing management including rent collection, lettings and overall customer service. Tenants will know their housing officers, making it easier to report issues, get help with problems paying their rent and engage in how to make services better. There has been strong support for this approach from staff, tenants groups and Edinburgh Tenants Federation for this approach.

Over three quarters of tenants who responded to the budget consultation believed that making homes cheaper to heat would have a profound impact on their living costs. In response to this, the committee agreed to accelerate investment, including the replacement of heating systems for 1,000 tenants and essential insulation upgrades across the city to make it more affordable for tenants to keep warm.

The report also shows the pace of progress in the council’s 21st Century Homes house building programme and more detailed plans about how this will be expanded to meet the ambitious target of delivering 8,000 homes over the next 10 years.

The committee also agreed plans to deliver 193 new homes in Craigmillar. This would include new colonies homes building on a unique Edinburgh housing design popular across the city.  The development would be a major boost to the regeneration of Craigmillar Town Centre.

Housing leader Councillor Cammy Day said: “Committee agreeing this report today is great news not just for our tenants and future tenants but for the city as a whole.

“Reducing the cost of living for our tenants and building more affordable homes are the key priorities for tenants and therefore they’re key priorities for the council too.

“I’m really pleased with the progress shown in the report towards our 8,000 affordable homes target. This intervention in Edinburgh’s housing crisis will help to address the acute shortage of affordable homes in the city and ease the burden of ever increasing housing costs on those on low to middle incomes.

“In our consultation, 89 per cent of tenants said they were satisfied with the quality of their homes. This places us in the top three local authorities nationally. However, we are not complacent, and we want our tenants to continue to regard us as one of the top housing providers in the country. The accelerated investment agreed today will improve the lives of thousands of our tenants and hopefully go a long way to achieving that goal.”

The report also highlighted upcoming services looking to help reduce costs of living for tenants even further including an energy advice service, low-cost broadband, a community garden initiative and expansion of the Tenant Discount Scheme.

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