We campaign for more empty homes to be brought into use for people in housing need.
Empty Homes is a national campaigning charity.
Our aims are to:
Raise awareness of the waste of long-term empty homes.
Research, develop and work with others to test ideas for bringing long-term empty homes back into use for those in housing need.
Provide encouragement and advice for those seeking to bring empty homes back into use, or those who are concerned about empty homes.
Campaign for changes to policy and initiatives at national and local levels that will enable more action to bring empty homes back into use for those in housing need.
This year we are holding 'Empty Homes Week' from Monday 16th October to showcase and inspire successful examples of bringing empty property back into use.
Why our work matters
1. There are still too many homes lying empty.
Latest Government data suggests that there are over 200,000 homes that have been empty for over six months. Some of these may not stay empty (if they are on the market, or are being renovated). But others are stuck empty, perhaps because of inheritance issues or because their owners are holding on to the property hoping for a rise in its value before selling it.
2. Leaving homes empty is a waste.
We believe that we cannot afford to waste such properties, given the shortage of affordable homes. England needs about 240,000 to 245,000 additional homes each year to meet newly arising demand, and nearly one third of those homes need to be at below market prices and rents.
While there is clearly a need to build new homes, ignoring the potential of existing empty homes in meeting housing supply is a costly environmental mistake. Creating homes from empty properties saves substantial amounts of material compared to building new houses, and also minimises the amount of land used for development.
3. Bringing empty homes into use helps neighbourhoods.
Refurbishing and repairing empty homes can help improve the look and feel of a neighbourhood. Derelict property can attract problems, such as fly tipping, vandalism and arson.
There are neighbourhoods with particularly high levels of empty homes. This may be linked to the standard of housing on offer and other quality of life considerations in the area. We think tackling empty homes in these areas should be part of wider neighbourhood initiatives that start from the perspective of the issues people face there. We think action in those areas to improve the housing standards for existing residents and to renovate empty properties should be seen as part of a rounded approach to addressing England’s housing crisis and delivering true opportunity and greater equality across the country.
4. Even where the will exists to bring empty homes into use, making it happen requires effort.
Most people see the sense in turning empty properties into homes, but progress depends in practice on governments, property owners, local authorities, community and housing organisations all being willing and able to take action.
Our job is to make the case for action, come up with ideas that could make a difference and campaign for their adoption.
Empty Homes 2015 ©
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