Fife Council on the brink of housing emergency

A three year plan to tackle the challenges faced by homeless people in Fife, was agreed by councillors recently.

Fife Council’s Cabinet Committee discussed the homelessness strategy and the need for an estimated £67.3 million over the next three years to help the escalating numbers of families without permanent housing.

Cllr Judy Hamilton, Cabinet Spokesperson for Housing, said the council is facing unprecedented pressure on housing services – a pressure that’s being felt across Scotland and the wider UK: "We are escalating concerns through Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (CoSLA), Society of Local Authority Chief Executives (SOLACE) and the Association of Local Authority Chief Housing Officers (ALACHO). And we have brought forward a  robust Plan to deal with the Homelessness and Housing Access issues in Fife."

The long term strategy and action plan for reducing homelessness will focus on:

  • Newbuild
  • Property acquisition
  • Reducing void turnaround times
  • Bringing empty properties back into use
  • Working with the private rented sector
  • Prevention of homelessness

The biggest contributor to solving homelessness is to continue to build new social housing. Cllr Hamilton added: "Against this backdrop, the Scottish Government draft budget announcement in December says that we should expect a cut of 26% to the support for our Affordable Housing Programme. This is extremely concerning and will have a negative impact on the number of new affordable houses the council and the Fife Housing Association Alliance can provide to support homelessness needs.

"We have committed to building a further 1250 Council houses in Fife over the next five years, as part of the Affordable Housing Programme.  Since 2012, we have had one of the largest social house-building programmes in Scotland and even the UK, delivering 7400 houses. Our ability to keep building is at risk if this proposed cut is applied to the Affordable Housing budget.

"Following a unanimous decision by Cabinet Committee members today, I have asked the Leader of the Council to write urgently to the First Minister, the Prime Minister and the Leaders of all political parties in the Scottish Parliament, pointing out the cuts to affordable housing budgets and seeking urgent support to mitigate housing pressures in Fife, ahead of budget discussions in Holyrood.

"This will look at every avenue for support; and give Fifers the best chance. Failure to take urgent action will lead to Fife Council having no alternative than to declare a Housing Emergency.

"I am seeking an urgent meeting with the Housing Minister. We are doing everything we can to support people and make sure everyone has access to good quality, affordable, sustainable homes.

"A range of measures is in place to help us speed up the process of allocating homes and look at ways of adding to the number of homes available to people in need. We're committed to helping anyone who finds themselves without a home, for any reason. If you find yourself in this situation, please talk to us. You can find more information at"