Private rented sector could help provide key to ending homelessness in difficult economic climate
24 June 2009
Private landlords could hold the key to Scotland achieving its internationally acclaimed commitment to end homelessness by 2012 . That is the claim from housing charity Shelter at a major housing conference today (Wednesday) .
At the event 'Private rented sector review – new beginnings or false dawn?' taking place in Perth, the charity's Head of Policy, Gavin Corbett, will argue that the private rented sector has a central role to play in preventing homelessness and providing much needed homes over the next three years.
He said: 'Private landlords have not always enjoyed the best reputation over the decades. But today, as never before, there are landlords who actively want to work with local councils to provide a service to a whole range of tenants, including those facing homelessness.
'With councils and housing associations staring down the barrel of tight budgets and mortgage lenders still frozen in the headlights of the housing downturn, there is no doubt that private landlords have an increased role to play in housing homeless people.
'But to achieve that we need to share a common aim of ridding the sector of that small minority of landlords who actively cause homelessness, and who continue to drag down the name of responsible businesses.
He added: 'We need to redouble efforts to make private renting an attractive and affordable option. Housing people who are homeless in the private sector can help us meet Scotland’s internationally acclaimed homelessness commitment and help ensure that people have not only the right to a home but the keys to one as well.'
The conference comes as recent research by the Chartered Institute of Housing shows a sharp decline in the number of young people viewing homeownership as the ideal to aspire to , reinforcing the importance of private renting for the future.
The conference will hear from a range of experts with a wealth of experience in private sector housing, including: Rachel Gwyon, Head of Housing Markets and Supply, Scottish Government, John Blackwood, Director of Scottish Association of Landlords and Alan Sinclair, Operations Manager at City of Edinburgh Council.
Notes to Editors
- The 2012 homelessness target will give all unintentionally homeless people the right to a permanent home, under Scottish legislation. Currently, only people designated to be in 'priority need' – generally families with children – have the right to permanent homes. All others have access to only temporary accommodation and support. By 2012, there will be no distinction and everyone will have the right to a home.
- Details of our conference: 'Private rented sector review – new beginnings or false dawn?'
- Read more about the research by the Chartered Institute of Housing.
- Shelter believes everyone should have a home and helps 170,000 people a year fight for their rights, get back on their feet, and find and keep a home. We also tackle the root causes of Britain's housing crisis by campaigning for new laws, policies and solutions.
- Spokespeople are available for interview, telephone the media office on 0844 515 2442. An ISDN line number is available for broadcast interviews.