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DATE POSTED: 28/11/2012

Empty Homes

EMPTY HOMES The Empty Homes charity estimate there are 920,000 empty homes across the UK (November 2012), 330,000 of which are long-term empty. If just a small proportion of these properties could be used for applicants from local social housing waiting lists the nation’s currently housing crisis could be significantly eased. Life, of course, is never that simple – but they are figures worth conjuring with aren’t they? In Norwich the official data (November 2012) indicates there are 1,691 empty homes (2.64% of all homes in the city). 1,359 of these are short-term – meaning over 300 are long-term (more than six months). However, data on empty homes is notoriously hard to verify and commentators agree there is significant under-counting. In other words there could be many more houses and flats in the city that have been empty for more than six months. At St Martins we are trying to do our bit locally by bringing 10 long-term empty homes back into use for people in housing need over the next three years. We hope to persuade 10 owners to sign a lease with us at a premium price in exchange for us investing in the improvements required to bring the property up to a good standard ready to let. During the refurbishment phase we will use unemployed construction trainees all of whom have experienced homelessness. After their work on the houses they will get a chance to bid for tenancies in them. Our partners in this project are Norwich City Council, Construction Training Services (Norwich) and the Empty Homes Community Grant Programme of the Department of Communities and Local Government. Watch this space for further news.

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