West Dunbartonshire declares housing emergency

A housing emergency has been declared in West Dunbartonshire amid unprecedented pressures on the ability to meet the needs of those in social housing or seeking a council property.

The local authority said Housing and communities Convener Councillor Gurpreet Singh Johal made the declaration and urged the Scottish Government to review the decision to cut the Affordable Housing Supply Programme allocation to West Dunbartonshire by 27% (£2.873m) for 2024/25.

The Housing and Communities committee heard significant progress has been made in the past year to cut the number of empty homes, while 133 new council homes were built and 262 households were prevented from experiencing homelessness.

But Councillor Johal said the council had no choice but to declare an emergency because of stark figures including over 5,500 households on the housing waiting lists, 274 people living in temporary accommodation and over 1,000 homeless assessments being carried out.

The motion received cross-party support and will now involve the Council engaging with both internal and external partners to map out a way forward.

Councillor Johal said: “This decision has not been taken lightly but I sincerely hope that this can help lead us on the path of greater stability for everyone in our communities, especially those who are facing homelessness and unstable accommodation.”

West Dunbartonshire Council is the fifth local authority in Scotland to declare a housing emergency following similar moves within the past year by Argyll and Bute, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Fife.