WHICHEVER way you look at national housing statistics, the figures just don’t add up.
Even though there are 320,000 homeless people in England, and more than a million on waiting lists for social housing, one in 30 homes currently has no one living in it and one in every 100 is de?ned as long-term empty. Another 246,000 are short-term empty (vacant for less than six months).
There are similarities in Tameside, where the total of empty homes is greater than the number of families living in temporary accommodation. The vast majority of these properties are privately owned.
In view of these figures, and the need for more housing, Tameside Council has made it a priority to get more of these empty homes back into use.
A key tool in this strategy is the lease-and-repair scheme organised in partnership with Ashton Pioneer Homes (APH). Under its terms, owners of vacant housing enter into a six- year lease agreement with APH. The property is renovated, a tenant is found, council tax is paid, and management and maintenance services are provided.
APH gets a management fee and in return the home-owner receives a steady rental income for the term of the lease arrangement.
To raise awareness of the scheme, and find accommodation for more people, Tameside Council and Ashton Pioneer Homes will be hosting an empty homes drop-in on Wednesday, September 25.
It takes place between 2 and 8pm at APH’s headquarters at Margaret House, Margaret Street, Ashton. Officers will be on hand to explain how things work and how they can benefit all concerned.
Cllr Ged Cooney, Tameside Council’s executive member for economic growth and wellbeing, said: “Empty homes can’t be ignored. They blight communities, contribute to decline and when they start to appear in groups turn once-desirable districts into places people want to avoid.
“Our partnership with Ashton Pioneer Homes is a common-sense way of addressing this problem as everyone can win. I would encourage owners of vacant homes to come to see us on September 25 because I’m certain they’ll be interested in what we have to offer.”
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