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SIC receives affordable housing funding boost

| Written by Shetland News

The Hjaltland Housing affordable homes scheme at Quoys, Lerwick. The Hjaltland Housing affordable homes scheme at Quoys, Lerwick. SHETLAND Islands Council is to be given a "significant increase" in money for affordable housing from the Scottish Government over the next three years.

A total of £14.3 million will be allocated to the council between now and 2021 to invest in building new homes in partnership with Hjaltland Housing Association.

SIC housing chief Anita Jamieson said the local authority had been previously expected to receive no more than £1.5 million a year over the period.

The grant money comes as the Scottish Government aims to deliver 50,000 new affordable homes across the country by 2021.

Jamieson said the council is also looking into other funding streams to build in more remote areas.

"This is good news and follows on the Scottish Government's commitment to increase the supply of affordable housing," Jamieson said.

"This means that we will have the resources to scale up the programme in future years in partnership with Hjaltland Housing Association. We have already submitted a programme in excess of the previous minimum assumptions.

"Alongside the main social rented funding we are also exploring other funding streams for rural and island housing with a couple of local groups which we hope will lead to housing projects that can help sustain more remote areas where there is less housing pressure but still a housing need."

The term affordable housing covers social rent, affordable rent and affordable home ownership, but Shetland has a long-standing problem with a lack of availability, particularly in Lerwick.

Among the developments planned by Hjaltland to tackle the shortage include building up to 300 new houses over a ten-year period at Staney Hill in Lerwick.

Speaking about the funding, Scottish housing minister Kevin Stewart said the government is "ensuring that Shetland has homes that are high-quality, efficient and affordable".

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