As 2016 comes to a close it's hard to deny that this year has been one of turbulence, upheaval and instability. For those of us living in privately rented housing, lack of stability, uncertainty and upheaval can be all too close to home.
In Edinburgh we’ve heard stories from people who can only afford to live by hopping from one friend’s sofa to another. Many sublet box-rooms in large flats in order to bring down the rent, or stay in flats that are otherwise overcrowded.
In Glasgow where rent levels have been increasing, the quality of housing is a real issue, with vulnerable people living in slum-like dwellings in some parts of the city.
Despite these persisting issues: 2016 has been a year where things have started to get better, and this has been a landmark year for Living Rent. In March we saw the Scottish Government pass legislation to bring in new protections for tenants including some moves toward rent controls. In the Summer we formed a tenants union, held our first AGM in the autumn, and we are now hiring our first organiser.
Although this is an exciting step we only have enough funds to support this work for 6 months, part time. When faced with the scale of the problem we know this will not be enough. Which is why I am ending this year in review with an ask for all of you.
If you rent join us, but if you are fortunate enough not to live in unstable, insecure rented housing: please support us. Even a modest number of donors giving £10 per month would allow us to keep our new staff member for longer than six months, to reach out, to visit tenants, talk to others and bring people together in communities and make a real difference.
We understand that this might not be something you are able to do, but please consider chipping in to our fundraiser. We are halfway to our £1000 target, and even a few pounds makes a difference.
We wish you a happy New Year! In 2017 there will be a great deal of work to be done, but together; with your support we can transform housing in Scotland.