New Scottish poll reveals stigma and attitudes towards social housing

New Scottish poll reveals stigma and attitudes towards social housing

Tom Norris, managing director of Places for People Scotland

A new poll has revealed some of the stigmas that still surround social housing in Scotland and highlighted the view that more social and affordable homes are needed in Scotland.

The survey of over 1,300 people, commissioned by Places for People Scotland, found that 40% of respondents believe that neighbourhoods with social housing tend to have higher rates of crime and anti-social behaviour, and almost a third of respondents (32%) believe that the quality of social housing is poor.

However, according to a report by the Police Foundation, burglary is likely to be more common in areas with higher levels of private rented housing than in social housing neighbourhoods.

In a positive sign, despite the stigmas, 96% of people said that they would not be put off making friends with someone who lives in social and affordable housing.

An overwhelming majority (89%) said they would always prefer to own their own home rather than rent, but a majority (85% of respondents) believe that the cost of living crisis means that Scotland needs to build more social homes.

The survey comes ahead of the Scottish Federation of Housing Association’s annual conference today at which Tom Norris, managing director of Places for People Scotland, will speak to delegates about the impact stigma has on communities and tenants in Scotland and why it is imperative for social housing providers, developers and national and local governments to work together to change the narrative around social housing. 

As the cost of living crisis puts an ever greater strain on household budgets, the need for affordable housing is likely to increase. Tom will set out the positive role social housing plays in providing homes, building communities, and improving livelihoods.

Commenting on the findings of the survey, Tom Norris, managing director of Places for People Scotland, said: “Scotland is a welcoming and progressive nation, but, despite our best efforts the stigma of social housing can sometimes rear its ugly head. It diminishes the good work we do as a sector, undermines social cohesion and promotes social isolation.

“Our research backs up evidence from across the UK which shows how negative attitudes towards social housing and people living in it, can scar the lives of people and communities across Scotland, hampering our collective efforts to help communities to thrive.

“Stigma is preventing Scotland from becoming a fairer and more equal society. It holds back people, and it holds back communities.”

He added: “We see from our more than 10,000 customers across Scotland that social housing is home to people from diverse backgrounds and experiences and we must do more to change misconceptions and show the important role quality affordable housing plays in our society, its diversity, and the benefits not only to its tenants, but to us all.

“To do that, we need to build more of the homes Scotland needs, and at pace – so that people from all walks of life, and of all ages, can benefit from an affordable and stable home now and long into the future. We must collaborate and work in partnership to end the stigma of social and affordable housing not just through words, but through action.”

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