Government hands out £85m of empty homes cash
The government has allocated £85 million of empty homes funding to councils and community groups.
Twenty councils that were successful in a bidding round will each get a slice of £60 million to tackle ‘clusters’ of empty homes in low housing demand areas.
Voluntary and community groups across the country will receive more than £25 million to deal with individual properties.
There are 720,000 empty homes across England and the aim is to bring 5,600 back into use.
The government has already allocated £70 million to councils in the current spending round, which runs until 2015.
Communities minister Andrew Stunell said: ‘The number of empty homes in this country is a national disgrace – for every two families that need a home there is one standing empty.
‘Empty homes bring down a neighbourhood and attract vandals and fly-tipping, as well as being a waste of much needed housing.’
TV presenter George Clarke, who has been named as an independent adviser to the government on empty homes, said: ‘The announcement of this funding is a fantastic step forward in bringing empty homes back into use, especially the £25 million of funding for community and voluntary groups.
‘It’s now up to these organisations to think creatively using new forms of procurement like home steading, sweat equity and apprenticeship schemes to make every penny stretch as far as possible.’
The community grants have been agreed in principle and a full list will be published when they have been confirmed.