We recognise that there are a range of organisations that may not have considered empty homes as part of the solution to meet their housing needs. We would like to encourage them to make best use of existing stock, as they may be in a place to attract grant and loan funding not available to councils. To do this we hope to trial strategic & innovative projects to demonstrate the benefits of empty homes work, how this work can be carried out, what are the barriers to success and any lessons that can be shared. We believe that these projects can help to reduce overall housing need and help to provide more affordable homes.
Our first strategic partnership was formed with Homes for Good (HfG) a social enterprise letting agency. We successfully recruited an Empty Homes Manager in August 2020, with the aim of bringing empty homes back into use. It is anticipated that these will either be purchased outright by HfG, or leased by HfG or purchased and flipped.
The project is in its infancy but has come up against initial barriers due to local authority data sharing protocols. From this, we have learned the importance of engaging with councils at a much earlier stage of any project agreement. However, significant inroads are now being made, with Glasgow City Council in particular, and the Empty Homes Manager is working with 42 owners of empty properties.