Our plan

We need real change if we're to tackle Scotland's housing emergency. Our three year plan explains the problems we're facing and the ways we're going to fix them. We want it to be a turning point for all the people in Scotland facing bad housing and homelessness.

Our plan

We need real change if we're to tackle Scotland's housing emergency. Our three year plan explains the problems we're facing and the ways we're going to fix them. We want it to be a turning point for all the people in Scotland facing bad housing and homelessness.

Scotland's housing emergency

A home is a fundamental human need, the foundation on which we can all build our lives and the basis for strong communities and a good society.

The right to a safe home isn’t just the right to a roof over your head. A home means much more than that. It’s the right to somewhere safe, secure and affordable and which contributes to people’s wellbeing.

Shelter Scotland was founded fifty years ago to tackle homelessness and the scourge of slum housing where overcrowding and poor health were rife in Scotland’s major cities.

Fifty years on the slums have mostly gone, but the lack of affordable, decent homes still affects many thousands of people and families across Scotland.

That means Shelter Scotland is needed now more than ever. Without a home, no-one can achieve their full potential.

Mum, children and dogs on sofa

Our goals

1. Helping people across Scotland

Our services are under unprecedented pressure. Last year in Scotland we helped more people than ever before.

Our frontline services are seeing more people who are struggling with complex difficulties in their lives, such as a combination of homelessness, debt, mental health issues, addictions, or people with convictions.

We can only ensure these people can find and keep a good home, rather than being trapped in a revolving door of homelessness, if we are truly close to them.

Dad and kids doing homework in overcrowded bedroom

We will provide housing and homelessness advice online for all those who need it in Scotland.

We will deliver our free national helpline across Scotland for people in crisis whose problems cannot be resolved through online advice.

We will provide face-to-face advice and support on housing, homelessness, money and debt and welfare issues where people need more intensive one-to-one help.

We will strengthen our legal team, so they can take forward legal cases that establish points of law to deliver wider benefit for badly housed or homeless households across Scotland.

We will aim to provide a dedicated service to homeless and badly housed families in each of our Community Hubs, and ensure this work is linked to our campaigning and community engagement activities.

We'll replicate the approach taken in our flagship projects in Glasgow and Dundee, so that services in all of our Community Hubs are shaped by the people who need them.

2. Tenants in the social and private sectors

Social and private renters account for 37% of all households in Scotland. While Scotland has recently passed significant reforms to private renting, there are still landlords and letting agents not conforming to the new requirements and last year, private renters accounted for 36% of all those that came to Shelter Scotland for help, despite making up only 15% of all households.

In the social rented sector, household evictions are on the rise again, driven in part by the harsh realities of welfare reform and Universal Credit-linked rent arrears, and in part by the actions of local social landlords.

Mother holding baby

We will raise awareness about renters’ rights in both the social and private rented sectors in Scotland. We'll continue to provide advice for renters online, on the phone and through our Community Hubs.

And we'll continue to monitor social sector evictions in Scotland and the impact of the new Private Residential Tenancy arrangements.

We'll press for the Scottish Government to invest in the creation of a Private Rented Sector (PRS) tenants’ forum, to empower tenants and inform future PRS policy across Scotland.

3. Campaigning to build more social housing

Scotland needs to build 12,000 new houses a year to meet demand. So while the Scottish Government’s pledge to deliver 50,000 affordable homes (35,000 of them in the social sector) between 2016 and 2021 is a welcome move forward, it falls well short of the target.

There's also a risk that the wrong type of homes will be built in the wrong places, if the building programme isn't backed up by rigorous analysis and data on where the houses are needed most.

We need to build cross-party support for this housing supply commitment, and ensure it continues and increases in the years beyond 2021.

An outdoor scene of sunlit social housing

We will continue to be at the forefront of the campaign for more social housing in Scotland, building on the work of our landmark Commission on Housing and Wellbeing in 2015.

We will grow a movement which will demand more social housing.

We will deliver independent and robust research on the scale of social housing need in Scotland and how we can overcome the barriers to delivering a sustained and transformational programme of social house building across the country.

We will work in partnership with the public and other stakeholders and partner organisations across the sector, to secure a broad and influential coalition for change to deliver the social house building programme Scotland needs.

We will continue our pioneering work to target empty homes , which has already brought over 3,000 homes back into use. We'll build on this by encouraging all local authorities to invest in a dedicated empty homes officer.

4. A movement for change

Our homes are the foundation of our communities, which is why people care deeply when they see the right to a home denied to their friends, families or neighbours.

Shelter Scotland was founded as a community movement 50 years ago and we believe our future lies in enabling and leading change both at a national policy level, but also and crucially, on the ground in local neighbourhoods.

Campaigning #stillfighting. Photograph by Izzy Leach.

We know that in every area where we work, people are deeply concerned about the housing emergency. We will empower people to challenge the failures of the market and where their rights under state interventions are not being upheld. We believe change is possible.

We will expand the number of community organisers working with local groups and partners, using our hubs and shops as their base, helping to build a social movement with the power and influence to defend the right to a safe home.

We will grow this movement and develop ways for people to get involved – from concerned individuals to big organisations, from major donors to local community groups. There are so many ways people can make a difference.

We will ensure that every Shelter Scotland Community Hub is a local base for change. We want our hubs and shops to be at the heart of their communities as local centres for activism as well as for help and support.

We will continue to recruit and develop our volunteers, and recognise the major contribution they make to all our activities across Shelter Scotland.

5. Changing the way we work at Shelter Scotland

We recognise the scale of the challenges people across Scotland face in finding and
keeping a home.

We will not accept the continued housing injustice that too many people suffer.

We recognise that we need to adapt and change in the face of continuing austerity to ensure that we achieve the greatest impact with the resources we have.

Campaigning #stillfighting. Photograph by Izzy Leach.

Every Shelter Scotland Hub will be a base from which to make change happen, with individuals, in communities and across Scotland.

We shall continue to speak out and campaign more vigorously on behalf and with those who face housing injustice.

We will help others to tackle the housing emergency by providing professional training and support.

We'll make sure that Shelter Scotland is a partner of choice with children’s charities and
other housing providers in Scotland, to boost our work with children and families.

We'll develop the country’s first interactive map showing the many different housing issues people face, so we can build a detailed picture of where the right to a home is denied or threatened.

We will review and further develop how we define, track, measure and communicate our impact and effectiveness.

21,000 people

came to us for help last year. We think that's 21,000 too many.

18 minutes

...the time it takes for one more household in Scotland to become homeless.

14,000 children

were made homeless in Scotland last year. That's 14,000 too many.

Front cover 2019-2022 Plan

Find out more about how we'll tackle Scotland's housing emergency. Read our 2019-2022 Plan in full.

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