Creating accessible services

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Co-financed by the European Fund for the Integration of Third Country Nationals

7. Creating accessible services

7.5 Housing services

Housing is a very important factor in attracting people to parts of Scotland, and encouraging them to remain. The detail of housing rights for migrants is very complex, and greatly depends on individual situations.

You can find out more about migrants’ rights and entitlements in Chapter Eight of this toolkit.

Find out more...

The Chartered Institute for Housing has a very detailed website on housing rights, with a dedicated section on rights in Scotland.

Glasgow Housing Association has also produced guidance on housing migrant workers and refugees.

7.5.1 Social housing

An important issue around access to social housing is entitlement to benefits, including housing benefit. This issue means that many migrants aren’t able to access social housing when they come to Scotland initially.

It is important that staff providing advice and access to social housing understand:

  • the options available to migrants;
  • the rights migrants have, depending on their situation;
  • how to signpost migrants effectively to sources of support.

It is also important that when developing social housing allocation policy, you carefully balance the needs of new migrants with the needs of long standing residents. Resident communities often wish to encourage social housing providers to prioritise the needs of those already living in the area. However, new migrants can help to build a more diverse, economically active and vibrant community. The goal for social housing providers will be to develop policies that deliver change at a scale and pace that enables local people to achieve their housing aspirations, at the same time as meeting the needs of new migrants. This might also involve initiatives to help build trust, and foster positive relations between long-term resident communities and new migrants. You can find out more about this in Chapter Six of this toolkit.

7.5.2 Private Rented Housing

The private rented sector is particularly important to many migrants. Access to affordable, good quality and secure private rented housing is a key factor in attracting people to certain areas. There is evidence that many migrants experience very poor conditions within the private rented sector, with particular problems around overcrowding and poor property conditions.

Find out more...

The Housing and Migration Network has produced UK wide research into the needs and experiences of migrants living in the private rented sector, which also makes practical and policy recommendations. The Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) housing rights website contains a section on advising migrants on the private rented sector. This research by the Migration Observatory explores migrant experiences of housing in the UK, and the impact of migration on housing.