78% of us agree government needs to tackle England’s 200,000 empty homes
“Empty homes will not solve the housing crisis”, is what some people say to me. I agree. We need to see more homes built. And, we need policies to make sure housing is truly affordable for people on low incomes. But, it is also plain to see the contribution that England’s 200,000 plus long-term empty homes could make. (Long-term means empty for six or more months).
Research we commissioned at the Empty Homes Agency with Halifax shows that British voters want more done. More than three quarters (78%) thought government should place a higher priority on tackling empty homes. These views were held by people of all voting intentions.
It does not make sense to allow properties to be stuck empty for want of some investment so they can be done up and rented out or sold. In recent years, community groups and social landlords have been taking on these properties and doing them up with support from government grants. This has helped provide much needed homes for people on waiting lists. But, we need to see so much more of this. Yet, the dedicated grant pots come to an end in March 2015. And, this raises questions about how much attention will be given to making the most of our empty homes in the future.
At the Empty Homes Agency, we want all the Westminster political parties to pledge that, if they form the next government, they will adopt a plan to tackle empty homes within their first year, as part of a wider approach to tackling housing need.
The attention being given to building new homes is right. But, we want political parties to catch-up with public opinion and also give a priority to bringing empty homes back into use to help people get homes at a price they can afford.
Support Homes for Britain online