Inside Housing’s Empty Promise campaign highlights an important issue for all concerned with social housing.
Empty homes are a blight on local communities, challenging the sector’s ambition to provide thriving neighbourhoods where everyone can feel proud to live. But by far the most pressing issue is that homes stand empty as waiting lists grow.
Urban areas are among those most commonly highlighted, but the situation is no less pressing in rural communities. Futures Housing Group has been working with local authority partners - Amber Valley Council and Erewash Council - for the last three years to help bring empty homes back into use. By supporting the councils’ empty homes strategies, we have been able to refurbish homes that would previously have fallen further into disrepair and let them to families in real housing need. But, more needs to be done.
The National Housing Federation’s Home truths report estimates that we are building less than a third of the social housing needed in the east midlands each year, leading to longer waiting lists and more overcrowding. As new development slows as a result of the economic downturn, empty homes provide great opportunities.
We must all work together to make the best use of available funding and existing housing stock to deliver on our ambitions for the communities we serve.
Lindsey Williams, chief executive, Futures Housing Group