SFHA urges political parties to acknowledge housing’s vital contribution to health and wellbeing

SFHA manifestoThe Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA) has called on political parties to acknowledge that investing in housing is vital for the nation’s health and wellbeing.

In the run up to May’s Scottish Parliament elections, the organisation has outlined five key requests for the next Scottish Government to deliver, which the Federation said it can help towards.

The SFHA is asking the Scottish political parties to commit to:

  1. An affordable housing target of 12,000 homes a year, an amount the organisation has previously said is required to solve the housing crisis.
  2. Maintaining the recently increased grant that is available to housing associations to build new homes. A grant of at least £70,000 of public investment for a typical family home will allow social landlords to borrow more privately at no further cost to the public purse.
  3. Increasing energy efficiency and fighting fuel poverty by ensuring all housing reaches Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) band C or above by 2025.
  4. The powers in the Scotland Bill have the potential to bring about positive change, such as mitigating against the ‘bedroom tax’, and the SFHA is asking the next Scottish Government to use the welfare powers it will gain to protect tenants and ensure rental income stability for social landlords.
  5. Housing has a vital contribution to make to the health and social care integration agenda and can enable people to live at home independently. But housing must be universally recognised as being central to this process, and the next government must act to ensure it is allowed to make a positive contribution in all local partnerships.
  6. In return, with support, SFHA and its members have pledged to:

    1. help the next Scottish Government to build the 12,000 affordable homes
    2. bring in more private sector money if the government maintains the investment rate
    3. make social housing warm, dry and cheap to heat
    4. support tenants to maintain their tenancies
    5. keep people safe and healthy, living independently with adaptations and services in their own homes.
    6. SFHA chief executive, Mary Taylor, said: “We are calling on all political parties to sign up to our five key asks and to acknowledge the crucial role that housing has to play in the lives of Scotland’s people.

      “Good quality, affordable, warm, energy efficient housing is vital for a person’s mental and physical health and wellbeing.

      “Investing in housing is also a form of preventative spend as many associations provide services and specially adapted homes for disabled and older people. Research has shown that hospital care is more expensive than supported accommodation: the cost of a general hospital stay is nearly £194,000 per year. In contrast, an association providing supported care for tenants with very complex needs, at the high end of the cost spectrum, costs £18,435 per year.

      “By delivering our key asks, the next Scottish Government will protect some of Scotland’s poorest and most vulnerable people, and the SFHA and its members are ready to assist it.”

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