Trailblazing scheme could unlock Scotland's Empty Homes
29 March 2011
An innovative scheme proven to bring empty homes back into use by providing interest-free loans to their owners could be adopted by Scottish councils.
‘No Use Empty’ is the brainchild of Kent Council and has now resulted in more than £10million investment in empty homes across the county over the last five years and brought 1,627 empty homes back into use.
Officers from Scotland’s local authorities are set to find out how the scheme works from its project manager, Steve Grimshaw, of Kent County Council. He is the keynote speaker at the Incentives and Enforcement Seminar being hosted by The Scottish Empty Homes Partnership on Wednesday 30th March at Edinburgh’s Victoria Quay.
The Scottish Empty Homes Partnership aims to help councils find practical ways of bringing some of Scotland’s 25,000 long-term private sector empty homes back into use. It is funded by the Scottish Government and coordinated by Shelter Scotland.
Graeme Brown, Director of Shelter Scotland, the housing and homelessness charity, said:
“Should Scottish councils wish to adopt or implement something similar to ‘No Use Empty’, it is thought they could do so by bidding for some of the £10m in the Housing Innovation and Investment Fund. It is open to bids for innovative ways of providing a new supply of affordable housing – including bringing private sector empty homes back into use.
“Bringing empty homes back into use contributes to society positively on a number of levels – in particular through housing supply, local regeneration, supporting rural communities and community safety.
“At a time when there is a shortage of funding for affordable homes, we need to do all we can to protect and refurbish the homes we already have. There is a housing crisis across Scotland so creative funding ideas aimed at bringing more houses back into use are to be welcomed.”
‘No Use Empty’ has a £25,000 cap per unit and a £175,000 total cap per applicant. More councils in England are adopting the scheme and its branding.
Notes to Editors:
1. Shelter Scotland, the housing and homelessness charity. Shelter Scotland believes that everyone should have a home. We help people find and keep a home. We campaign for decent housing for all.
2. The Partnership Advisory Board includes:
- Scottish Government
- Shelter Scotland
- Scottish Housing Best Value Network
- Scottish Rural and Property Business Association
- Historic Scotland
- Rural Housing Service
3. The Scottish Empty Homes Partnership provides good practice to councils and their partners through the production of guides, facilitation of seminars and training, and one to one consultancy and advice. The Partnership also has a role in making recommendations to government where barriers to private sector empty homes work in Scotland are identified.
4. Spokespeople are available for interview, telephone the media office on 0844 515 2442. An ISDN line number is available for broadcast interviews.
5. For more information about Shelter Scotland visit www.shelter.org.uk