Scotland launches empty homes fund
The Scottish Government has doubled its investment in tackling empty homes.
First minister Alex Salmond announced the launch of the scheme on Friday last week and also said the fund would be £4 million rather than the £2 million pledged earlier this year.
The scheme is now open for bids and the Scottish Government is hoping it will bring at least 160 empty homes back into use. The extra cash will be targeted towards helping rural communities.
Mr Salmond said: ‘Making more affordable housing available is a priority across the country, but the need is particularly acute in places like the Highlands and that’s why we are doubling our investment in the empty homes loan fund.
‘We are seeking bids for loans to help bring at least 160 empty homes back into use as much-needed extra affordable housing. This is part of our commitment to deliver at least 30,000 affordable homes over the lifetime of this parliament – with at least £730 million available for housing over the next three years.’
Kristen Hubert, coordinator of the Scottish Empty Homes Partnership, said: ‘The funding of incentives for empty home owners is a key ingredient in successfully bringing private sector empty homes back into use and we are delighted that the national empty homes loan fund has been extended to £4 million.’
The partnership is funded by the government and run by homelessness charity Shelter Scotland, to help councils and the private sector work together to bring empty homes back into use,
Drew Hendry, leader of the Highland Council, said ‘We will continue to work with [the Scottish Government] and our partners to bring empty properties, both in public and private ownership, back into use for the good of the community.’