Preventing homelessness and increasing the supply of housing across all tenures are among the key priorities of the new East Lothian Local Housing Strategy 2018-23.
The Housing (Scotland) Act 2001 requires all local authorities to prepare a Local Housing Strategy (LHS) for their area, supported by an assessment of housing need and demand. Following a consultation East Lothian Council’s new LHS sets out the strategy, priorities and plans for the delivery of housing and related services across East Lothian until 2023.
The LHS, agreed at today’s meeting of the council Cabinet, highlights six priority outcomes:
- Sustainable and vibrant communities are created and maintained
- The supply of housing is increased and access to housing improved across all tenures.
- Homelessness is prevented as far as possible, with appropriate support in place to promote positive health outcomes and tenancy sustainment
- A wider range of specialist housing is provided to enable independent living where appropriate
- The condition, energy efficiency and where appropriate the management of existing stock is improved
- Fuel poverty is reduced and climate targets exceeded
A five-year action plan has been drawn up which includes initiatives such as preparation of a temporary accommodation strategy, 300 units of specialist housing for older people, new units for veterans and refuge accommodation. The new LHS will be updated and reviewed every year.
Cllr Jim Goodfellow, Cabinet Spokesperson for Housing and Community Wellbeing, said:
“Our vision is that by 2023 we will have healthy and sustainable homes in vibrant communities that meet increasing levels of need, with reduced inequalities and improved wellbeing for all across all stages of people’s lives.
“With a growing population, improved life expectancy and changing needs, it’s vital that a wider range of specialist housing is delivered to enable people to live independently for longer, where that is appropriate.
“The LHS will underpin good community relations, improve the existing housing stock and focus minds on doing everything we can to reduce carbon emissions and tackle fuel poverty.
“The LHS builds on our strong track record in council housing. Between 2012 and 2017, we delivered 380 new council houses and increased expenditure on modernisation. We have a significant £93 million package of investment in new council housing over the next five years and are also investing almost £60 million in the modernisation of existing council homes. This includes progressing energy efficiency measures to make tenants’ homes warmer and cheaper to heat.
“This highlights the council’s determination that housing is a key part of building an even more prosperous East Lothian enabling our people and communities to flourish.”