Affordable housing extended in rural and island areas

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A five-year programme to fund affordable housing projects in rural and island communities is being extended, Housing Minister Kevin Stewart has told the Scottish Parliament.

The Rural and Islands Housing Funds, worth up to £30 million, were launched in 2016 and will now run beyond March next year.

The funds help groups such as community organisations, development trusts and private landowners to build new affordable housing or refurbish existing properties and have already supported projects that will deliver around 200 homes.

Mr Stewart said it was important for the Scottish Government to help ‘our valuable rural and island communities’ to provide sustainable affordable housing in their areas.

‘The Rural and Islands Housing Funds were set up to address some of the issues these areas have faced and have been described as ‘game changers’ by the Scottish Land Commission, providing a vital boost to affordable housing in remote rural Scotland and on our islands,’ added Mr Stewart.

‘One or two homes in a small community can be as important as a large-scale development in a city. I have seen first-hand how these funds supported a development of 12 homes in the village of Drumnadrochit that has allowed older residents to live independently, with support from a nearby day centre – an inspiring project created by the community.

‘We want this good work to carry on and have been listening to feedback from communities, councils and rural housing stakeholders who want these funds to continue and deliver new homes. As such, I am pleased to announce the continuation of the funds beyond March 2021.’

The funds are part of the wider Affordable Housing Supply Programme, which has delivered about 4,800 affordable homes in rural and island communities over the first four years of this Parliament, including on Islay, Iona, Skye, Orkney, Shetland, the Outer Hebrides, Mull, Raasay and Rum.