In its 10th annual report published on 29th June, The Scottish Empty Homes Partnership (SEHP) announced that 1,412 previously long-term empty properties have become homes again – a 25% increase on last year’s record. This brings the total number of homes brought back into use since the SEHP was established to 5,756 properties. 44% of the recovered vacant properties were brought back over the last two years, thanks to the shared knowledge and expertise of the Partnership and Empty Homes Officers from 21 local authorities across Scotland.
However, The SEHP, which is run by Shelter Scotland with funding by the Scottish Government, noted that there is a danger that this momentum could stall if empty homes are not made part of local authority post-pandemic recovery plans.
Shaheena Din, SEHP National Manager, said:
“I’m delighted that we have surpassed last year’s record. On behalf of the Scottish Empty Homes Partnership I want to thank the empty homes officers for another record-breaking year. The partnership has demonstrated that, with the right support, long term empty homes can be brought back into use and can play a key role in helping to meet the demand for housing in areas where there is a shortfall in affordable housing, and in reviving town centres and sustaining fragile communities. Empty homes are an asset on our doorstep. However, the housing market faces significant challenges as a result of COVID-19 and its economic impact and we will need the continued support and cooperation of our partners in order to sustain this success. ”
Housing Minister Kevin Stewart said:
“The Scottish Government is proud to support the work of the Empty Homes Partnership. At a time when every home counts, it’s very encouraging to see thousands of previously disused privately owned homes being brought back into use thanks to the Partnership’s efforts.
“We’re actively working with the Partnership to help them maintain capacity in their network of empty homes officers to support people, communities and local economies as we move to recovery from Covid-19. The skills and expertise of Empty Homes Officers will be invaluable in helping us face this unprecedented challenge.”