Community groups will soon be able to apply for Government cash to bring empty homes back into use. Communities Minister, Andrew Stunell, has announced that community and voluntary organisations can bid for a share of a £100 million funding pot aimed at schemes that turn empty properties into affordable housing.
He also announced that property owners who leave their homes empty for more than two years could be hit with a tax hike to “spur” them into bringing them back to use
The government is due to launch a consultation on what it [...]
There are places in Liverpool that make your heart leap and others that make you want to weep. These two adjacent roads in Granby manage to do both at the same time. Granby is the very essence of a deprived community, on almost any indicator of poverty it does almost unbelievably badly. 94% of children living in poverty 70% of the resident Somali population are unemployed, cancer and heart disease rates are 250% of the national average. Why you might think would anybody want to live here? With over 11% of [...]
>First of all a big thank you to everybody who has contributed to the empty homes debate on the Homes and Communities Agency website. There are now over 100 comments from people involved or affected, it’s still open for comments until the end of the month.
I’m really inspired by some of the ideas here Jim Overbury’s Private EDMO idea. Using the process, but not the force of the EDMO legislation to get homes into use with the owner’s agreement. Emma Edghill’s idea about working with the YMCA to find homeless people who can work on renovating vacant properties. Gary [...]
The government is, according to Eric Pickles “committed to transparency”. Good! It has not always been so. Back when we I started this blog in 2006 access to information about vacant property was an issue I wrote about frequently because I thought it was being handled so badly. In one bizarre case we dealt with, a local authority denied a man information about empty homes because they thought, to give it to him, would affect his mental health! Judging by his reaction I think denying it to him had a worse effect.
We no longer seem to have ludicrous cases [...]
Yesterday the Guardian reported that the housing vacancy rate is an enormous 25% higher than previously thought. That means that across the UK there may be 450,000 long-term empty homes. As they correctly point out this is enough to house a quarter of the families on housing waiting lists in this country. Now I know there are people that will say this is an oversimplification and Shelter will go on about needing to build new houses. Well are both are true but that doesn’t take away the significance of these findings.
Last year Liverpool campaigner Elizabeth Pascoe lost her fight to stay in her home, and halt the emptying out and demolition of Edge lane. She was forced out last year. But what has happened since? These two photos of her front door taken before and after she left, perhaps offer an answer.
>Three years ago, after a visit to the road I described this as the most dispiriting case the Empty Homes Agency had ever dealt with. Four large and imposing Victorian villas overlooking one of Liverpool’s great parks had been left to rot and deteriorate to the point that they were virtually falling down. What made it so dispiriting, was the owner of the property was the very organisation we expect to look to resolve problems like this: The local council. The houses were purchased by compulsory purchase by the council at the beginning of the decade to improve them. But [...]
> My eight-year-old son announced yesterday that he preferred Lego to God. The dilemma that brought about this announcement was the time clash of the local church carol concert and James May’s TV special on building a real house from Lego. Set against this competition God never stood a chance.In case you didn’t see it, the programme got thousands of volunteers to build a full size house out of Lego bricks allowing James May to live in it for a day and [...]
Last month I said that it was time to try homesteading again. Sarah Teather it seems agrees. The Lib Dem shadow housing minister in her conference speech today proposed “self start homes” rescuing empty homes in failed regeneration areas by making them available to people to renovate and live in themselves.
>The first week of September still has that back-to-school feel, even though it’s more than twenty years since I had any personal experience. It has at least been back to business this week with meetings with the housing minister and both shadow housing ministers. The word that seems to be on the tip of all of their tongues is localism, although strangely none actually dare utter it.
Type Localism into Google news and it will helpfully flash up a timeline chart showing the occurrence of the word over the last 130 years. Remarkably it was common parlance in the 1880s in [...]
>I’ve had the privilege of visiting number of self help housing projects over the last few years. And I have to say it’s been one of the best bits of this fantastic job I have. There is something that feels very right about enabling people with no home to create one out of one that somebody else abandoned.
Projects like Canopy and Latch in Leeds, advocates for the homeless in London and youthbuild in Harrogate all train young homeless people to renovate empty buildings. Many volunteers end up living in the properties they have renovated and others find work as a [...]
>Of all the reasons to be fed up with the BNP’s electoral success, this was admittedly not the worst. But none the less I was pretty cheesed off to be last-minute bumped off the agenda of the Jeremy Vine show on Monday for a discussion about the merits or otherwise of messers Griffin and Brons.
ControversialWhat I was going to talk about was nonetheless controversial. Or at least the Daily Telegraph thought so, ReportEmptyHomes.com as many of you will know is a website we launched six months ago. Numbers of empty homes are increasing significantly at the moment. We estimate that [...]
>My thanks to Inside Housing Magazine who this week launch their Empty Promise campaign. I urge you all to sign the petition they started today. Give your views at firstname.lastname@example.org and report those empty homes at ReportEmptyHomes.com
>2008 was the year the housing industry’s chickens finally came home to roost; the year when people stopped buying shoddy homes thrown up by speculators, and when they said no to ever-rising prices.
But look what we are left with. A housing market so dysfunctional that despite record levels of housing need, we have the retched sight of nearly a million empty homes. And policy so out of touch;that perfectly good homes are being destroyed to make way for regeneration projects that will never happen. It’s time to think again about who controls our housing.
At heart I’m an optimist. What gives [...]