SCOTLAND faces an “emergency” amid a “critical lack of capacity” of social housing, a report has warned.

The Solace report, made up of council chiefs and senior managers, estimates at least 125,000 homes are needed to meet the current demand.

It revealed that 243,603 people are currently on the waiting list for social housing, however, only 26,102 allocations were made across the entire country.

Cleland Sneddon, chair of Solace Scotland, said local authority housing faces “unsustainable pressure” amid the lack of new homes after analysis revealed just 18,583 affordable homes have been delivered since 2022, with the supply falling 20% in three years.

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Sneddon said: “The report sets out the unsustainable pressure on local authority housing, the challenges and barriers that are limiting the supply of new homes and social rent tenancies, and recommends action needed to implement change at pace and scale.

“Our conclusion is that it is clear that a fundamental review of homelessness services and social housing provision in Scotland is required. A minimum 10-year plan is needed for whole system transformation.”

The research was also undertaken in collaboration with local authority body Cosla and the Association of Local Authority Chief Housing Officers (Alacho).

The Housing in Scotland report showed that nine of the total 32 councils were unable to meet their statutory obligations to provide suitable temporary accommodation, with 28,944 open homelessness applications open at the end of September.

It also found increasing numbers of breaches from local authorities where unsuitable accommodation orders were issued, including 986 in Edinburgh and 600 in Glasgow.

And in 2020, Alacho estimated that up to 500,000 households may be living in homes deemed not to meet their human rights on more than two accounts.

The report calls for a temporary pause on new duties that extend the definition of homelessness and a further break in changes which allow referrals for housing to where applicants have no local connection.

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The report noted: “Local authority housing and homelessness services are experiencing unsuitable pressure reflecting the critical lack of capacity in local housing systems in Scotland. Some local authorities are unable to meet their statutory duties, resulting in households in housing-need being failed by the system set up to support them.

“The housing reality is that there are simply not enough social and affordable homes available and local authorities currently have inadequate means to reverse the position.

“We have a housing emergency, what we need now is an emergency response that acknowledges the urgency required and that makes a genuine difference to our collective ability to respond to the unprecedented challenges.”

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “Despite global issues such as rising costs of construction supplies and workforce issues, the number of affordable homes completed in Scotland in the year to end March 2023 is the highest annual figure since 2000.

“Our long-term strategy, Housing to 2040, sets out a vision for housing in Scotland and a route map to get there.

“It aims to deliver through partnership working with Cosla and local authorities, consistent with the Verity House Agreement our shared ambition for everyone to have a safe, good quality and affordable home that meets their needs in the place they want to be.

“We welcome the contribution of the Housing in Scotland report, which will now be considered fully by the Scottish Government, Cosla, Solace and Alacho through the established short-life, housing review group.”