Campaigners looking to make housing in Aberdeen a key issue in next year’s council elections are to take their fight to the public tonight.
The Aberdeen Housing Rights Defenders are launching a survey to hear what communities think of the standard of homes on offer.
At the height of the pandemic last year, 1,220 households in the city were assessed as homeless or being threatened with homelessness.
Across the year, 1,464 homeless applications were made in Aberdeen.
The grassroots activists, backed by charity Shelter Scotland, are setting out to become the collective voice for renters in the Granite City – with the aim of gradually changing housing conditions and costs for the better.
Set up earlier this year in response to the “housing emergency”, the poll launched tonight will be the group’s first public engagement – and they want it to dictate the conversation on housing at next May’s election.
Responses from tenants will help to form a blueprint, which the pressure group will ask candidates to back publicly.
Group activist Naomi, 35, said: “I have personal experience of being homeless as a young person and being allocated a flat which had damp issues and was of substandard condition.”
“My experience of the social housing system makes me feel angry.
“My situation got better, but the reality is that this is a symptom of a broken housing system that affects people across Scotland every day.
“Our group are campaigning to change housing in Aberdeen.
“No one should be homeless, and no one should be expected to live in bad housing conditions which negatively affect their health or their life chances.
“Unfortunately, of Scotland’s 1.8 million renters, too many do live in sub-standard and expensive accommodation.
“Everyone in Aberdeen should have the right to a safe home.”
It comes as a row over changes to roles within Aberdeen City Council’s housing office continues, with staff striking in protest.
How to get involved with the Aberdeen Housing Rights Defenders
Survey responses will be gathered through an online form, as the campaigners remain cautious in the pandemic.
The Aberdeen Housing Rights Defenders are launching their survey tonight at 7pm by Zoom conference.
More information can be found on the group’s Facebook page.
Shelter Scotland’s Aberdeen community organiser, Jacob Campbell, urged people to get involved and to share the news of the event across the city.
He said: “Tonight, the Aberdeen Housing Rights Defenders are launching our Aberdeen Housing Survey.
“We’re giving people in Aberdeen a voice, and we’re stepping out on the long road to creating a society where everyone has got a decent place to call home.
“The Aberdeen Housing Rights Defenders are making history in Aberdeen – we are building a movement for housing change, and it’s down to the strength of our activists that we’re going to win.”
Mr Campbell can be emailed for more information on Jacob_Campbell@shelter.org.uk – as too can the charity’s senior community organsier, Meghan O’Neill, on Meghan_ONeill@shelter.org.uk