Published 28 February 2024

A bid to bring homes into Council ownership to increase the number of properties available and reduce homelessness is making progress with a dedicated officer now appointed to lead the scheme.

Members of West Dunbartonshire Council’s Housing and Communities committee today heard that there are plans to bring 300 homes into Council ownership over the next five years.

This is in addition to the 122 new homes which have been bought by the Council in the last five years.

Currently, there is a national shortage of social housing across Scotland which has led to an all-time high in homelessness applications and demand for social housing both locally and nationally.

In West Dunbartonshire, there is a particular need for larger family housing as well as one-bedroom properties.

A dedicated officer has now been appointed to lead the Buy Back programme to which people can self-refer. Empty homes officers and housing officers working in the community will also be looking to identify properties which could be bought by the Council.

The initiative has now been running for more than 10 years, having been approved by the committee in 2013 although initially it was only looking to secure a modest five homes per year.

Last March it was agreed that the ambition and vision of the scheme would be scaled up in order to meet housing need and help combat homelessness by securing 300 new homes for social rent over a five year period. The aim is to reduce the need for temporary housing and the number of empty homes while improving the standard of housing within the area as well as creating more vibrant communities.

Councillor Gurpreet Singh Johal, Convener of Housing and Communities, said: “We are committed to ensuring our residents can access secure and appropriately sized homes which suit their requirements and the Buy Back programme helps by widening our housing stock.

“I am pleased that we have been able to scale up this programme and we now have a dedicated officer who will lead the way in bringing more homes back into our ownership, making more properties available for Council tenants and reducing homelessness.”

Councillor Hazel Sorrell, Vice Convener of Housing and Communities, said: “This is an ambitious project but one which will make a huge difference in our communities. I am delighted that more homes are being brought into Council ownership meaning our tenants are better served.”