Developing Affordable Rural Housing
In recent years most “affordable housing” in rural Scotland has been provided by housing associations, or Registered Social Landlords (RSLs). RSLs receive grant funding from the Scottish Government to subsidise the cost of building houses enabling them to charge “affordable rents” of on average £280 per month. Most government funding for new affordable housing is channelled through housing associations.
The level of grant has been reducing in recent years making it more difficult for RSLs to provide rented housing at these rent levels. In rural areas in particular development has been difficult because of high development costs and few economies of scale possible in the small developments required.
Working with a housing association
Working with a housing association has been the predominant way in which rural communities have developed new affordable housing in their community, with most government investment routed through RSLs they remain the main route for the development of rented housing at affordable rents. There are many ways communities can work together with housing associations to ensure housing built meets local need and reflects community wishes in its design and location.
Doing it yourself
Some communities are however seeking to develop affordable housing themselves, to develop a community asset which they can manage for the benefit of local people. This route can however be longer and more difficult as there is little housing grant available to communities, but some have successfully developed rented housing using housing grant, while others are developing ways of providing housing for rent and ownership which does not require grant support.