People urged to have their say on housing issues in Aberdeenshire

housing and homelessness charity Shelter Scotland is urging Aberdeenshire residents to have their say on housing issues in the region.

The call comes following the launch of an online consultation by Aberdeenshire Council on its draft Local Housing Strategy 2012-2017.

The council is seeking feedback from residents on the draft strategy which deals with all aspects of housing and related issues, including affordable housing, homelessness, fuel poverty, private rented accommodation and housing for older people.

Shelter Scotland says 1,232 families and individuals were assesses as homeless across Aberdeenshire last year. Meanwhile 6,202 households are on the waiting list for a home with only 847 new lets available in 2010-2011. According to the charity this means it would take seven years to clear the waiting list.

With such stark statistics, Shelter Scotland says the consultation is a good opportunity for residents to shape the future of housing in their local area and make a real difference.

Martin Wilkie-McFarlane, National Services Manager at Shelter Scotland, said:“This is a good opportunity for local residents to have their say on issues that affect us all.

“Recent research shows that an affordable, decent and safe home is one of the top priorities for families and individuals in Scotland. For that reason I would encourage local residents to have their say and help shape the future of housing in the area. After all, housing is an issue that affects everyone in our society.

“We want local authorities and the Scottish Government to make housing a top priority to ensure there is enough secure and affordable housing for the people of Scotland, regardless of whether they own or rent their home.”

He added: “Housing affects us all and I would encourage residents to have their say and help shape the future of housing for generations to come. For anyone currently struggling to pay for their bills or facing bad housing, our team of expert advisors are on hand to help. Whether you’re worried about missing this month’s mortgage payment or you are already falling behind with bills, we can help stop things from spiralling out of control, but it is vital to get help early by calling 0808 800 4444 or visiting www.sheltersacotland.org .

Shelter Scotland believes that everybody needs a home in a place they can thrive. Our work won’t stop until there’s a home for everyone.”

Residents are asked to read the draft strategy then give their feedback on what is currently proposed by visiting http://aberdeenshireconsult.limehouse.co.uk/portal.

Housing advice is available at www.shelterscotland.org or by calling 0808 800 4444.