Housing Options Scotland in Scotland, a Brief History
Housing Options Scotland in Scotland was established in Edinburgh in 1997 as both a charity and a company limited by guarantee. Its main aim was to ensure that disabled people had equal access to owner occupied properties.
As now it sought to do this by providing a casework service, offering training and support to stakeholders and using its expertise to influence policy and practice.
Housing Options Scotland has inspired others to develop creative housing solutions to enable disabled people, and their families to find suitable housing either through outright purchase or shared ownership.
Initially the organisation expected to concentrate on issues around physical disability such as accessible accommodation however the closure of the large scale learning disability hospitals from the late 1990s onwards provided a new source of referrals. The organisation is still in touch with some of the earliest clients, and many former clients have remained involved either as volunteers or board members.
Housing Options Scotland has always sought to form strong partnerships and networks. It has provided training and specialist support to a range of organisations throughout Scotland.
By the middle of the first decade of the 21st century Housing Options Scotland had successfully pioneered the concept of benefits based mortgages and had persuaded a number of lenders to take into account future benefits as well as current income. The global financial crisis of 2008 has led to a dramatic reduction in the availability of mortgage finance. In order to respond to the new financial situation Housing Options Scotland now provides advice on social renting and private renting for disabled people.
In 2010 Housing Options Scotland was selected as a key partner by the Scottish Parliament and has begun a yearlong campaign to raise awareness of and support for the Right House, in the Right Place for all disabled people.