Action on Empty Homes relaunches with Empty Homes Week statement

Our partners and champions at Action on Empty Homes (previously 'Empty Homes' and 'Empty Homes Agency') issued the following press release for Empty Homes Week:

Campaign calls for an end to the scandal of hundreds of thousands of empty homes

At the start of Empty Homes Week 15 – 21 October 2018[1], Action on Empty Homes[2] is calling on the government to support local authorities to enable them to refurbish the hundreds of thousands of properties standing empty across England.

The most recent data[3] shows there are more than 605,000 empty homes in England and that 205,000 are long-term empty homes, many to be found in areas that have experienced under-investment for a generation.

The national Coalition for Community Investment[4], led by Action on Empty Homes, is calling on the Government to invest in areas with high levels of empty homes, to help community-based programmes bring these back into use for those in housing need.

The new Director of Action on Empty Homes, Will McMahon, said

‘It is very worrying that the number of long-term empty homes has grown by 5,000 in the last year. Homes that would be more than affordable stand empty across the country because of the lack of a government strategy to support councils to bring them back into use.’

‘It is good that government has just scrapped the cap on council’s borrowing to build new council housing in coming years. But what we ask is why not back those councils with the powers and finance to bring hundreds of thousands of existing wasted empty homes back into use for England’s homeless’ right now?

Hundreds of millions of pounds are spent by local authorities on funding often unsuitable temporary accommodation for homeless individuals and families, with the latest government figure for 2018 showing 79,880 households in temporary accommodation including a shocking 123,230 children.’ [5][6]

Yet as this scandal ruins lives and drains the public purse, over half a million6 empty homes blight the streets of every town in England, cruelly advertising inequality to the homeless families locked out by England’s current national housing crisis.’

Enquiries: Chris Bailey on 07979 647 237 or 020 7832 5808

Notes for Editors:

1 Empty Homes Week takes place annually. Local authorities see Empty Homes Week as an opportunity to organise events and put out information so that people in their area know the advice and assistance that is available locally to tackle empty homes.

2 Action on Empty Homes is the new name for the organisation previously known as Empty Homes campaign and prior to that The Empty Homes Agency. The new title will be formally launched at the Empty Homes Network conference on 18 October.

3 Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government Housing Statistical Release, 24 May 2018: 605,891 vacant dwellings (an increase year on year of 2.7%); 205,293 dwellings long-term vacant (an increase year on year of 2.6%)

4 The Coalition on Community Investment is chaired by cross-bench peer Lord Best is supported by: Association of Residential Letting Agents / National Association of Estate Agents: Propertymark; Crisis; Federation of Master Builders; Locality; National Community Land Trust Network; Northern Housing Consortium; National Housing Federation, Residential Landlords Association and Shelter:

5 House of Commons Library ‘Households in temporary accommodation (England)’ (26 July 2018)

6 MHCLG Housing Statistical Release, 24 May 2018:

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