Empty Homes Nationwide: a big solution for a big problem

22nd July, 2013

Partners required for scheme that aims to bring 100,000 homes back into use over 15 years

BRE, homelessness charity, All People All Places, and social housing procurement consortium, Westworks Ltd, are joining forces in an ambitious scheme that is set to revolutionise the empty homes agenda.

Supported by empty homes advisor to government, George Clarke, the Empty Homes Nationwide (EHN) initiative aims to bring 100,000 homes back into use over the next 15 years. Phase one involves a pilot project to refurbish 300 vacant properties by the end of April 2014. If the pilot is successful, phase two will deliver thousands more homes each year until the target of 100,000 homes is achieved. 

BRE is currently looking to talk to local authorities, housing associations and public and private sector landlords who would like to get involved in the scheme. Properties owned by social landlords in key regeneration areas are a particular focus for the start of the project. 

“Empty homes is a big problem that needs a big solution,” explains James Fisher, head of sustainable communities at BRE who is leading the initiative. “We know we’ve set ourselves an ambitious target but we believe that a bold approach will reap the biggest rewards. 

“Securing finance for the scheme was our first big challenge and now this has been achieved, our progress will only be limited by the amount of housing we can access and the speed that we can move forward. We are looking to build strong partnerships with local agencies that could benefit from the EHN funding stream.”

Empty homes in England account for three percent of the total housing stock. According to council tax data collected by local authorities, there were 734,000 vacant dwellings at the end of September 2010. Out of these, 301,000 are in the private sector, which accounts for 1.6 percent of all private sector stock (Source: Homes and Communities Agency).

As well as providing a solution to urgent housing requirements, the EHN initiative aims to deliver valuable training and work experience opportunities as well as enhancing local communities. To get involved or to find out more information, contact James Fisher on fisherj@bre.co.uk or 01923 664722.

Source: http://www.building4change.com/page.jsp?id=1898

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