Case Study – YMCA Glenrothes – The difference empty homes work makes to people’s lives
Through the intervention of the Fife EHO, YMCA Glenrothes acquired the opportunity to purchase a two-bedroomed terraced house from executors
of a property that had been empty for nearly three years.
Tracy and her partner moved into this property just before the COVID-19 pandemic. Prior to this the couple and their new-born baby had been living in a third-floor flat. It was a private let and in Tracy’s words “not a good place”. There was damp present, and the landlord advised them to wash the walls daily to remove the ongoing damp. The mould inside the flat exacerbated Tracy’s anxieties. Tracy often struggled to get her pram up the stairs with her baby and shopping and the flat was located on a busy street with no garden.
Tracy has described this move to a home as making a “massive difference” in their lives. She and her partner always wanted a house, a quiet life, and a garden. Now, they have not only a garden, but a driveway and a shed. Tracy described the neighbours as “amazing” and commented that “everyone in the area is so nice” and the house in her own words is now “homely”. Their young child has just joined the nursery and is very settled.
On hearing that there are 43,000 empty homes in Scotland, Tracy was quite clear: There should be more affordable, decent homes and the local authorities have a responsibility. From being so unsettled to now feeling “safe” Tracy described the situation for many people like herself. “For someone who has been homeless, I have no money to buy my own house and I can’t afford the high private lets. Everyone should have the opportunity to feel safe”.