Ahead of Shelter’s annual Scottish Empty Homes Partnership (SSEP) conference, the charity said that owners of private homes that were empty for more than six months should be encouraged to bring them back into use and the charity proposed using £4.3 billion of empty housing stock to meet the 150,000 person demand.
The news comes after 22 of Scotland’s 32 council authorities set targets for putting empty homes back on the market.
George Clarke, the independent UK Empty Homes Adviser welcomed the idea: “With thousands of empty homes across Scotland, it’s a disgrace that so many families are going without something as fundamental as a home of their own,” he said.
“I totally support the building of new homes, and we should be building tens of thousands of them, but we need to look at other options too. It’s cheaper and quicker to refurbish empty homes than to build from scratch. It can be kinder to communities and the environment – and it makes sense in these tough economic times,” he added.
Lee Dribben, CEO for The Ashley Foundation based in Blackpool Lancashire, said: “Helping homeowners who would like to sell their properties or who need and request assistance converting their properties for the rental market is a good start”.
“However, providing housing is only the first step toward resolving the homelessness issue,” added Dribben.
“Employment, training and one-to-one encouragement that enables personal growth is the only sensible long-term answer to the homelessness crisis that we face today,” explained Dribben.
The Ashley Foundation (TAF) is a registered homeless charity, established in 1997 for the purpose of providing accommodation and support to ‘homeless individuals in need’. Committed to treating individuals with dignity and respect, TAF is determined to offer the opportunity and the support necessary to encourage and enable personal growth and self-development. There are many and varied reasons why people become homeless. Relationship breakdown, domestic violence, young people asked to leave home, people with drug and alcohol or mental health issues who are unable to sustain an independent lifestyle and more recently due to recession, where someone might lose their job and are then are unable to pay their mortgage or rent, the list goes on and on. Helping someone to rebuild relationships with family or friends, stay in education, take up employment and training opportunities or deal with their drug and alcohol or mental health problem is as much about tackling homelessness as is securing a roof over their head. For more information visit https://www.theashleyfoundation.org.uk.
Picture courtesy of Dave Conner