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About this campaign

Despite an ambitious affordable house building programme (target 50,000 affordable homes) in this parliament, waiting lists remain high and homelessness is again on the rise.

In Scotland, the Right to Buy resulted in the sale of over half a million council homes in the 30 years from 1980. This has left a massive hole in available housing stock. Fewer social homes means longer council waiting lists, and also a reduction in the quality of housing available (since the best homes sold first) - in many parts of the country only those in the most urgent need are able to access social housing.  

The Right to Buy was abolished for all social housing tenants in Scotland by the Housing (Scotland) Act 2014. From that point any new build social home cannot be sold under right to buy.

The Scottish Government has committed a record number of social homes over the current parliament - but it’s not enough. Over the next five years, in addition to the current target - Scotland must commit to building just one extra social home a day to meet Scotland’s housing needs. 

We need affordable, safe and decent social rented homes for everyone who needs one. As well as put a roof over people’s heads, this will help tackle climate change, reduce child poverty, create jobs and stimulate the economy.

In The Impact of Social Housing: Economic, Social, Health and Wellbeing, a report commissioned by SFHA alongside the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF), Public Health Scotland, and the Rural and Islands Housing Associations Forum research found that the building of 53,000 affordable homes over the next five years can make significant contributions to Scotland’s economy by creating around 200,000 jobs. It would also contribute more than £2 billion additional output per annum as well as additional Scottish tax revenues of £100 million.  

The report also found many social benefits that can help to address inequality, for example, the increasing of affordable housing supply levels, with lower rents than in the private sector, was found to directly reduce child poverty in Scotland.

Adding your voice to our petition can help us make enough noise so that all political parties in Scotland can hear how important this issue is.   Your voice counts. You can also help us reach more people by sharing the campaign in your channels and telling people why it’s time to build the social homes that Scotland needs. 

If you would like to share your story with us, about how social housing has impacted your life please email

We need 37,100 homes for social rent over the next 5 years (2021 – 2026) to reduce housing need.

This is the number at which housing needs stop rising faster than we are building social homes. This figure came from independent academic research carried out for the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA), the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) Scotland and Shelter Scotland: Affordable Housing Need in Scotland Post-2021 (June 2020).  

The current target is to deliver 50,000 affordable homes, including 35,000 for social rent, between 2016/17 and 2020/21

In the current public health emergency, the message has been simple, stay safe, stay home. Housing and having a home have been central to the response to the pandemic and access to appropriate housing that enables social distancing has been central to the safety and health of the public.  

Despite record levels of investment in building more affordable housing over the last four years, waiting lists remain high and homelessness is again on the rise. Current government statistics show that more households than ever are struggling to cope.  

  • 9.6m jobs are currently furloughed with the likelihood that many on furlough will struggle once this measure is lifted.
  • Evictions have been delayed up until April next year however if we don’t support tenants with their rent arrears debt then evictions are likely to increase.
  • Earlier in the year (2020) saw 1.5m claims to Universal Credit, six times more than the same period last year shows the level of need as more and more people have to rely on social security.

Most of the affordable housing delivered under the Scottish Government’s affordable housing supply programme will be new-build. The programme also funds ‘rehabilitations’, where existing properties are refurbished and brought up to a decent standard - however, remedial works won’t always be able to meet current energy efficiency standards, so we still need new homes to be built.

The latest figures show that there were around 130,000 households on a waiting list for social housing in Scotland, over 14,000 households were in temporary accommodation, these households spending over six months on average in this kind of accommodation.

It is housing owned and managed by public authorities (mainly councils) and housing associations (registered social landlords or RSLs). Governments provide help to fund housing for people in need, at affordable rents, which can be temporary or permanent.

Affordable housing is a home not bought privately or rented from a private landlord and includes social housing.  It also includes a range of low-cost homeownership and mid-market rent schemes.

There were an estimated 1.14 million people living in social rented housing in Scotland in 2017.

To apply for council housing or housing association houses, you have to fill in an application form. When you make an application, you should ask if there is a common housing register in your area (not all local authorities have one). This is a joint waiting list for housing from the council and from housing associations and cooperatives in your area. Visit our advice pages.

Each Local Authority has their own allocations policy. Council housing departments, housing associations and housing cooperatives don't all decide who should have priority on their housing waiting lists in the same way. Many have a points system: the more points you have, the higher up the waiting list you'll be. More info on allocation policy here.