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Scottish Housing Day is a chance to reflect on what the housing sector, alongside the Scottish Government, councils, funders, lenders and other voluntary organisations, has achieved. A house which people can call a home is not a god given right but it should be. A home that people can afford to live in, afford to heat and feel safe and secure should be within everyone’s reach but this is not always possible.
The Scottish Government is committed to ensuring that everyone can have a home and has put its money where its mouth is. The Scottish Government is investing £3 billion pounds to deliver 50,000 homes before the end of its parliament.
This investment has encouraged the sector to begin to increase the development programme to help achieve the target. Hillcrest is no exception. Over the next three years Hillcrest will deliver almost 1,800 homes to individuals in need. The homes are spread across our geographical areas and will be for people who are homeless, have support needs, amenity housing, family housing, individuals and people with addiction issues.
There will also be a proportion of mid-market rent housing recognising that having a job and an income doesn’t always allow you to have an affordable home. Many individuals and families can’t afford to buy or afford private rents so this is the only avenue they have to good quality housing.
I have worked in the housing world for over 25 years and when I started, you handed over the keys and that was “job done”. Now there is a range of other support and assistance that we offer to our tenants to ensure that tenancies are sustained. Working with our subsidiary Gowrie Care, we are also able to offer a much wider range of dedicated and specialist support to individuals who have particular needs.
A lot of the staff in the Hillcrest Group have worked in the sector for a long period of time and take great pride in the work that they do and the difference that they can make. Hillcrest recently celebrated 50 years and produced 50 short films, focussing on people who have contributed to or benefitted from our service. These are worth watching to get a flavour of what the sector, not just Hillcrest, has done to help alleviate homelessness and poor quality housing – https://www.hillcrest.org.uk/about-us/50-faces-of-hillcrest/
It is good to reflect and celebrate what has been achieved but we should also look on it as an opportunity to challenge ourselves on what more can be achieved. The sector delivers great housing and fantastic outcomes for people by working in partnership and collaboratively with others – what is the next step in the evolution of affordable housing?