Community and voluntary organisations have been invited to apply for a share of a £100m fund that will help revitalise communities and put empty homes back into use.
Communities Minister, Andrew Stunell, says that the Government money will help tackle this national crisis, creating more affordable homes and regenerating communities.
Some community projects, including PHASES in South London and Giroscope in West Hull, have already started tackling the empty housing in their areas.
Around 720,000 properties are lying empty around the country, with 280,000 unused or under-maintained for six months or more.
This new programme is the Government’s next step in tackling the issue.
Fund manager Tribal has been appointed to control the distribution of funding to successful applicants. Those successful will: Bring empty homes back into use as affordable housing; deliver value for money; have support from their local authority; and be completed by 31st March 2015.
The deadline for applications is 17th April 2012.
Stunell says: “The blight of empty, abandoned homes is putting strain on communities right across the country – if every empty home were refurbished and made fit for living, we could nearly halve the housing waiting list.
“Thousands of homes have already come back into use in the last year but there’s plenty more to do. The Government is committed to bringing this national scandal to an end.
“That’s why the programme I’ve launched today [24th January 2012] will give communities a chance to breathe new life into their neighbourhoods. This is an opportunity to create high quality new homes to ease the local waiting list, boost local skills and revive local pride.”1
The fund is part of the Government’s Affordable Homes Programme, which aims to build up to 170,000 new affordable homes over the next four years. It is expected that around £30m of the total £100m could be offered to community groups.