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Shelter Scotland welcomes Edinburgh’s housing emergency declaration

Posted 02 Nov 2023

Shelter Scotland has today welcomed the City of Edinburgh Council’s declaration of a housing emergency. 

The capital becomes the first city in Scotland to declare a housing emergency, with councillors backing a motion at today’s full council meeting. 

The motion also commits the council to developing a housing emergency action plan alongside key housing, social justice, and other stakeholders from across the city. 

The housing and homelessness charity pointed to the chronic shortage of social housing in Edinburgh, the record numbers of children stuck in temporary accommodation in the city, and the rising average cost of private renting as evidence of a housing emergency in Edinburgh. 

Shelter Scotland Director, Alison Watson, said: 

“Rents are out of control, record numbers of kids have nowhere to call home, more and more people are becoming homeless – Edinburgh is clearly in a housing emergency. 

“The housing emergency is touching communities across Scotland, but a chronic lack of social homes, the enormous number of properties used exclusively for short-term lets are just some of the factors which have made the situation especially acute in Edinburgh.  

“By coming together to acknowledge that reality today, councillors now have licence to deliver the emergency response we need.” 

“Of course, there are aspects of the housing emergency that are beyond the council's control, both the UK and Scottish governments must share responsibility, but it's clear that a business-as-usual approach isn’t going to cut it anymore. 

“People in the capital are crying out for action – every level of government has a duty to respond.  

“Today’s declaration of a housing emergency is just the start of the journey; Shelter Scotland is ready to support the council as it prepares its action plan and we’ll be monitoring progress closely.”