Empty Homes Week announcement

A letter has gone out to Chief Executives and Leaders of local authorities from Helen Williams of the charity Empty Home, announcing Empty Homes Week 2017.  We're sure our  members will be pulling out the stops to make the week a successful one.

The full text of the letter is reproduced below:

Dear Colleague,

We are writing to suggest ways your local authority can get engaged in Empty Homes Week 2017 and update you on our work at Empty Homes - the national campaigning charity. Please circulate this email widely in your local authority, including to those that lead on empty homes, wider housing issues, neighbourhood regeneration and communications.

Empty Homes Week 2017 - Monday 16 October to Sunday 22 October

Every year, 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. Empty Homes Week is also the chance to celebrate successes and reflect on what more needs to be done to bring empty properties back into use to help meet housing needs and to address the concerns of residents about neighbourhood blight.

Why not take the following action for Empty Homes Week?
  1. Use the Empty Homes Week logo at your events and in your information to help ensure that everything that happens that Week comes together to make a bigger voice for action to tackle the waste of empty homes.
    Email policy@emptyhomes.com and we will send you the 2017 Empty Homes Week logo.

  2. Let us know what you are planning for Empty Homes Week so that we can link to it. We are happy to hear about it at any point. But, if you can tell us in advance that would be great. 
    Email policy@emptyhomes.com to let us know.

Empty Homes in England

We have just launched our 2017 edition of Empty Homes in England to raise awareness of the waste of empty homes. The report analyses the latest Government data on long-term vacant dwellings (gathered through the local authority Council Taxbase in 2016). It also considers the reasons homes are empty in different types of housing markets; and what works in bringing empty homes back into use and tackling the underlying causes. 

You can download the full report here: http://www.emptyhomes.com/research.html

Recommendations for local authorities

Empty Homes in England includes these recommendations for local authorities:

  1. Local authorities should have an empty homes strategy for their area, with the aspiration to reduce the number of long-term empty homes; and they should aim to attract and allocate resources to refurbish empty properties for those in housing need. Local authorities should work in partnership with other housing providers and community-based organisations to achieve their plan. 

  2. Local authorities should take a casework approach with owners of long-term empty properties to encourage, advise and support them to bring homes back into housing use. Employing dedicated empty homes staff can ensure that the council is able to act on information about empty homes, and build up expertise in working with owners, including taking enforcement action where necessary.

  3. Local authorities with concentrations of long-term empty homes should look at how they can attract and allocate resources to support community-based neighbourhood regeneration approaches.

  4. Local authorities in high value areas should conduct studies to understand the extent and impact of buy-to-leave. They should review the measures they could adopt to incentivise people to bring those properties to the market for sale or rent; or not to buy properties to leave them empty.

If you are interested in discussing this work please email: helen.williams@emptyhomes.com   

Community-based approaches in areas with high levels of empty homes

Empty Homes has a project, funded by the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, to spread community-based regeneration in areas with high levels of empty homes. We are following demonstration projects where community-based organisations are bringing empty homes into use in partnerships with local authorities. We want to understand what works and the challenges these organisations face. We also want to share their experiences to encourage other people to look at how community-based regeneration could work in their neighbourhoods.

You can find out more at: http://www.emptyhomes.com/community-based-approaches.html

If you are interested in discussing the work of the demonstration projects please email: brighid.carey@emptyhomes.com   

In October, we will be launching a linked campaign, funded by the Oak Foundation, to build a broad coalition and implement a year-long intensive campaign to secure government investment in community-based regeneration in areas with high levels of empty homes. If you are interested in finding out more about this campaign or joining the coalition please email:  helen.williams@emptyhomes.com   

Find out more about the work of Empty Homes

Empty Homes is a charitable organisation that aims to raise awareness of the waste of empty homes and to research, develop and campaign for the adoption of ideas that enable more properties to be brought into use to meet England’s housing needs. To find out more visit: http://www.emptyhomes.com/index.html

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