£21m to help disadvantaged households fund home improvements



Mrs Burgess with George Adam MSP at the GWSF conference
Mrs Burgess with George Adam MSP at the GWSF conference

The Scottish Government has announced a new three year scheme to help low income owner-occupiers carry out essential repairs and energy efficiency improvements to their homes.

Up to £21 million will be invested in the Help for Homes scheme which will target those with limited income who meet the minimum equity requirements.

The pilot scheme will be a new addition to the portfolio of grants and loans offered by the Scottish Government to address fuel poverty, improve housing condition and reduce climate change emissions.

Unveiling details of the new scheme during a keynote speech at the Glasgow and West of Scotland Forum of Housing Associations’ (GWSF) conference on regeneration last week, housing minister Margaret Burgess said: “Housing is at the heart of the Government’s ambitions to create a fairer and more prosperous country, and that includes supporting homeowners in essential upgrades to enable sustainability at home.

“We recognise there are homeowners who want to look after their homes and make them more energy efficient but are unable to afford to carry out work, particularly those who live in tenements. The Help for Homes funding will help homeowners with limited income to combat this.

“That is why the Scottish Government is tendering for a Help for Homes pilot scheme, which will see vulnerable homeowners given help to carry out vital improvements to their homes.”

The property must have been the homeowner’s sole residence for at least 12 months. The maximum loan is 49 per cent of the valuation.

If there is a mortgage or other secured debt at least 30 per cent of the market valuation in equity must remain in the property after the loan has been deducted. Eligible homeowners will borrow from the Scottish Government and repay when they sell their home, die or transfer ownership.

There will be no means test but the scheme will be limited to properties in Council Tax bands A to C and also to home owners outwith these Council Tax bands in receipt of Council Tax Reduction.

Peter Howden, chair of GWSF, said: “GWSF very much welcomes the Scottish Government’s renewed emphasis on community regeneration, and its commitment to helping owner-occupiers make necessary and sustainable changes to their homes through the Help for Homes scheme.

“Not only will this scheme encourage regeneration and sustainability within tenements in particular, but it will also help owner-occupiers living in mixed tenure blocks contribute toward overall repairs alongside housing associations and local authorities.”

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