Housing Minister Keith Brown has this week kick-started the construction of dozens of new affordable homes in the Borders.
A new financing model, the National Housing Trust (NHT) initiative, will see developers Tweed Homes and Scottish Borders Council jointly funding the purchase of the homes, to be made available for affordable rent.
The NHT, led by the Scottish Government and Scottish Futures Trust, aims to increase opportunities for those searching for a home.
Speaking in Galashiels on Tuesday, Mr Brown said: “I am delighted that our creative, innovative National Housing Trust funding model, the first of its kind in the UK, has borne fruit. It will help address the demand for much needed affordable housing across the country.
“NHT will deliver dozens of new homes in the Borders, which will be made available for rent at below market rates. Importantly, they have been secured for very little taxpayers’ money as well as supporting jobs and stimulating the local construction sector.”
Councillor Ron Smith, Scottish Borders Council’s Executive Member for Social Work (Children and Strategic Services) said: “We are delighted to have begun the first National Housing Trust development in Scotland.
“By working with a local developer and a local housing provider we are able to provide much needed affordable accommodation and help stimulate the Borders economy.
“This agreement is an important one which will make a huge contribution to the many families who are looking for affordable homes in the Borders. I have no doubt this scheme will be a huge success and will prove a blueprint that other authorities in Scotland will want to follow.”
Barry White, Chief Executive of Scottish Futures Trust added: “In these challenging economic times, NHT opens the door to a new way to build affordable housing in Scotland. This demonstrates how the public and private sectors can work together in an imaginative way.
“Such innovation is at the heart of Scottish Futures Trust’s work. We now have an established model which can be rolled out across other local authorities taking part in the NHT programme.”