Media Release: Shelter is vital to Scotland’s wellbeing

HAVING a good home is central to the wellbeing of everyone in Scotland, according to Robert Black, the former Auditor General of Scotland.

Speaking ahead of the launch of the independent Housing and Wellbeing Commission, Robert Black, its chair, also said that, despite the fundamental role played by housing, Scotland’s housing system was suffering from decades of under-investment and there is a need for fresh thinking.

Says a Shelter Scotland spokesperson: “The Commission, which has been set up with support from Shelter Scotland, is launched today (Wednesday 23rd October) at a time when there is a serious lack of affordable housing and poor quality housing continues to adversely affect the health and life chances of many people across Scotland.”

Robert Black, chair of the Housing and Wellbeing Committee, said:

“Despite research showing that having a safe and secure home is a number one priority for people in Scotland, too many people still go without a secure and affordable place they can call home.

“With 39,000 homeless households last year and 155,100 people on council waiting lists, Scotland is still blighted by extreme health and education inequalities and poverty.

“Scotland must not lose sight of how important housing is to the wellbeing of everyone that lives here. Poor housing can have a significant impact on health, education, employability and life chances.

“Shelter Scotland has invited me to chair an independent Commission of respected, experienced and influential people to take a fundamental look at housing policy in Scotland and to consider what needs to change to enhance the wellbeing of people living  in Scotland.”

Adds the spokesperson: “In the coming months, the Commission will gather research and consult with a broad range of groups – including community groups, the housing providers across all sectors, and also with those directly affected by the issues highlighted in the research.

“The Commission will present a report before the next parliamentary elections which will review national housing priorities and policies. The Commission will make suggestions about how to sustain and improve the wellbeing of all people living in Scotland through policies and programmes for housing which reinforce the importance of good housing in building strong local communities.”

Robert Black emphasised the independence of the Commission. He said:

“Although the Commission is sponsored by Shelter Scotland, we will bring our own independent perspective on housing in Scotland, and we hope we can make a contribution to fresh thinking about Scotland’s housing policy in advance of the next cycle of Scottish and UK elections.”

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Contact: Shelter Scotland