22 November 2010
The Scottish Empty Homes Partnership – funded by the Scottish Government and coordinated by Shelter Scotland - was officially launched during UK Empty Homes Week – 22nd to 26th November.
The partnership works to remove barriers that might be in the way of councils and landlords bringing private empty homes back into use.
A key part of the two-year project is the promotion of a new web initiative going live on 22nd November – www.reportemptyhomes.com – where members of the public can report the address or postcode of a suspected empty home – information which will then be fed back to the local authority responsible for that area.
Graeme Brown, director of Shelter Scotland, the housing and homelessness charity, said: “Bringing empty homes back in to use contributes to society positively on a number of levels – in particular through housing supply, local regeneration, supporting rural communities and community safety. “Already 14 Scottish local authorities have signed up to the web initiative and we urge more to do so. We hope that all councils will eventually join with us in these efforts.
This is a highly efficient way of gathering national data on the issue of empty homes which will help inform councils in their drive to bring these properties back into use. “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 and so innovative work that brings more houses back on the market is to be welcomed.” Housing and Communities Minister Alex Neil said: "The Scottish Government is committed to help local authorities develop strategies to bring empty homes back into use. That is why we are funding Shelter Scotland for 2 years to support an empty homes co-ordinator to work with local authorities. “I am pleased that a number of councils have already embraced this project by taking up the support offered.” A seminar on 25th November at Historic Scotland’s HQ in Salisbury Place, Edinburgh, will host the Scottish Empty Homes Officer Network where details of the initiative will be aired.