Report calls on communities, councils, government to tackle empty homes

Empty homes in an HMR area of NewcastleThe charity Action on Empty Homes has published a new report which it calls an ‘action plan’ to tackle the issue of empty homes, which is now over 216,000.

The report, called ‘Community Action on Empty Homes’, says better partnerships must be forged between community-led projects, local councils and central government.

Brighid Carey, author of the report, said: ‘There are positive and valuable lessons in this report of interest to all those who are concerned with tackling the waste of empty homes across the country.

‘We want to encourage the creation of more community-based partnerships, to bring empty homes into use for local people and through doing so to help address the persistent underlying issues that keep people locked into poor housing and locked out of a safe, secure and affordable home.’

The report says communities can deliver affordable housing from empty homes, and in doing so rebuild essential community infrastructure, which could transform lives.

However, the report warns they must be backed by local authorities who should ‘invest to save’ by supporting community-based neighbourhood regeneration approaches, including working with communities to develop neighbourhood improvement plans that tackle empty homes and the wider linked issues.

Central government should also contribute by adopting an investment programme targeted at areas with long-term empty homes to enable local authorities, social landlords and community-based organisations to buy or lease empty properties to refurbish them.

It should also support wider community-based regeneration approaches that tackle the underlying causes of empty homes in these areas, the report concludes

Will McMahon, director of Action on Empty Homes said: ‘This new report is also about building the case for a new Government investment programme targeted at areas with high levels of empty homes.

‘We want an investment programme, delivered through local government, to support community-based approaches that refurbish empty properties, meet the needs of local communities and tackle the underlying causes of the high levels of empty homes. Our recent polling of MPs shows cross-party support for tackling the rising number of empty homes.’

Read the report here.


Thomas Barrett
Senior journalist - NewStart Follow him on Twitter


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