£50 Billion of Empty Homes
While the Government pledges for £2 billion for housing associations to build new homes and lifting the borrowing cap on local authorities will create new house building on a large scale, it won’t happen immediately.
So, bringing over 200,000 empty houses worth an estimated £50 billion back into use can be a faster solution for many local authorities. Especially in Kent where the county council’s pioneering “no use empty” initiative won a prestigious regeneration award earlier this year for its pioneering interest-free loans that have helped to transform 5,400 empty homes since 2005.
As we set out in our recent piece The True Cost of Emergency Housing, Kent local authorities spend £7.5 million every year for emergency accommodation because they do not have enough housing stock to deliver their statutory duty to house homeless people. “No use empty” can continue to be a game changing approach.
Empty homes can deteriorate quickly causing problems to neighbouring properties, attracting vandalism, fly-tipping and other criminal activity. Neglected properties can blight streets and neighbourhoods resulting in decreased property values and discouraging investment in the area.
However, many empty properties can be brought back into use quickly and easily with the right advice and support.
Homeowners and landlords can bring their empty homes back into use as part of National Empty Homes Week running this week. Organised by the Empty Homes Agency, an independent charity. Along with its district and borough partners is backing the national campaign that highlights the problems associated with long-term empty homes, whilst promoting the help on offer to bring them back into use.
There are several hundred projects underway in the UK that are trying to tackle the issue of homelessness in different ways. Community Land Trusts (CLT) act in the interest of a community, rather than profit for a corporation. CLTs have grown rapidly over recent years and there are nearly 300 in England and Wales, according to the National Community Land Trusts Network.
The idea is that a group of local people get together and develop sites so they are of real benefit to the community with affordable housing, green space, communal areas and whatever else they decide is appropriate.
For more information on bringing an empty back home into use click here >>