Published: 21st Mar 2017

The story of John P. Houghton’s empty childhood home ended happily – after many years. It shouldn’t take so long to get the UK’s empty homes occupied again, he says. In February 2011, I blogged for New Start about the sorry state of my childhood home in Kirkby, Merseyside. I had lived in the house from the age of 7 to 18, between 1985 and 1996, when my family moved out and I left for university. As a regeneration professional who has worked in the poorest neighbourhoods in the country, empty and vandalised homes are a sadly commonplace sight. That didn’t, however, alter the shock of seeing my old home in such a sorry state. This is the house where I listened to my first album, where my mum danced me a jig around the kitchen when I got into university, where I wept for my grandfather who died very … (To read the full article, subscribe below)