Empty Homes is an independent charitable organisation campaigning for more empty homes to be brought into use for the benefit of those in housing need.

Our History

Empty Homes was established in 1992 to try to ensure that empty homes in England are brought back into use for those in housing need.  We have built our reputation not only as a campaigning charity, but also in developing practical ideas on how to bring empty homes back into use.  These ideas have been adopted as national policy and also local practice.  Our track record of campaigning has put the charity in a good position to influence decision makers and to do more to tackle the waste of empty homes in England.


Our focus is on ensuring empty homes are brought back into use for those priced out of decent housing across England or in housing need, for example due to disability or  long-term health problems.


Our influence has been enhanced over two decades through building our reputation as the ‘go to’ place for media comment as well as through our thorough analysis of the causes of empty homes and what works in bringing them back into use.


As we approach our 25th anniversary in 2017, our desire to continue to raise the issues surrounding empty homes remains as strong as ever.


Helen Williams

Brighid Carey

Anita Nightingale

Chief Executive

Project Manager

Finance Manager

Helen joined Empty Homes as chief executive at the end of April 2014 having previously worked as an assistant director at the National Housing Federation and across a range of roles in housing. She is a passionate advocate of practical ideas where housing markets and ways of working do not serve people well. She believes solutions work best where they involve and build on the strengths of individuals and communities. She has a proven track record of devising ideas that work, influencing national policy and the actions of housing providers.

Brighid joined Empty Homes in May 2016 to help deliver a project which focusses on bringing empty homes into use in context of community-led regeneration and wider economic regeneration. Most recently a senior manager with Shropshire Council, Brighid has a very broad range of experience in many aspects of housing and strategic development. She is committed to supporting community-led solutions, community enterprise and self-help initiatives. Brighid believes creative partnerships to be central to the effective investment of resources and achievement of sustainable change.







Anita joined the Empty Homes Agency in July 2013 as the Finance Manager for the charity.

A confident, bright, and experienced Finance Manager, she has vast experience and knowledge gained through working within the charity sector.  She has a strong commitment to excellence in service delivery and a powerful drive to achieve targets.


Sue Anderson

Nick Billingham

Tom Crowley




Sue Anderson is head of member and external relations at the Council of Mortgage Lenders, the trade body representing lenders who together account for around 97% of residential mortgage lending in the UK.  After a degree in Classics, Sue worked briefly in book publishing before joining the world of trade associations in 1990 at the Building Societies Association. Since 1997 Sue has held a variety of roles within the CML and she currently manages a team responsible for the CML’s media work, public affairs, website, social media and member relations. Her other volunteering activity has included board membership of a housing association as well as being a school governor.



Nick Billingham is the Head of Devonshires' Housing Management Department. He has been involved in a number of high profile cases in the Court of Appeal and House of Lords (as was).  Nick regularly lectures to clients on a wide range of housing management and property litigation issues.  He has been a leading practitioner in the Social Housing field in Chambers Legal Directory for the past 14 years.  He is a former Board Member of Colchester Borough Homes and is on the editorial board of Journal of Housing Law.  He is also a founding member and until recently Chair of the Social Housing Law Association.  Nick joined the Board of Empty Homes in May 2016.

Tom is the Chief Executive of Horsham District Council in West Sussex, a position he has held since 2005. His Council is active in tackling empty homes and has succeeded in bringing many back into use. He has a professional background as a Chartered Town Planner and has worked for Councils in Wales, London, Surrey and West Sussex. As Director of Community Services at Reigate in the late 1990s he was responsible for the Council’s housing services and during that time led a successful large scale voluntary stock transfer. He was also one of the founding board members of Saxon Weald – a stock transfer Housing Association based in Horsham. Tom joined the board of Empty Homes in June 2017.

Jon Fitzmaurice OBE

Jen Hart

Andy Haynes




Jon is a senior visiting fellow at Cass Business School, City University, and is the originator and director of self-help-housing.org which promotes and supports community led self-help housing initiatives. Previously he held senior positions in a number of housing organisations and was, for nine years, the Director of Homeless Link. He is currently a board member of CDS Co-operative Housing Services and previously served as a non-executive director of a number of housing and charitable organisations.

Jen has worked in the voluntary sector for over fifteen years and has held several senior roles in Students’ Unions, innovative and member focussed charities in the Higher Education sector providing representation and engagement opportunities to a diverse demographic.   She has completed a Masters Degree in Voluntary Sector Management and has experience of developing charity governance, engaging people in campaigns and developing partnerships to deliver community based initiatives.  Jen joined the Board in June 2017.

Andrew Haynes is a Partner within the Residential division at Bidwells LLP. He advises landowners, developers, housing associations and local authorities on issues surrounding residential development and investment. Before joining Bidwells in 2014, Andrew worked at Allsop LLP for six years and prior to that was with the Housing Corporation, establishing and growing the programme providing affordable housing grant directly to private developers. Andrew is a Chartered Surveyor and Professional Member of the RICS.

Mark Hemingway

Toby Taper


Deputy Chair

Mark has over 35 years communications experience within financial services having worked for several leading FTSE 100 companies. He specialises in media relations and has a proven track record in reputation management and crisis communication. During his career, Mark has won many industry awards for press relations. He has been a supporter of the Empty Homes Agency for a number of years becoming chair in January 2014.

Toby has worked in housing research for many years – initially in central and local government, then as director at (Ipsos) MORI. She was responsible for their expanding housing research programme within both the public and private sectors, including carrying out several surveys with owners of private empty homes. Toby became Deputy Chair in July 2016.

Annual Reports

For more information please contact:

E: info@emptyhomes.com


  • Registration details:
  • Established: 1992
  • Official name: The Empty Homes Agency
  • Registered in England as a charitable and Community Benefit Society Number 27697R

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