Empty homes success
Wednesday 24 October 2012
More than 700 empty homes have been brought back into use over the last five years thanks to an ongoing Coventry City Council initiative.
A total of 201 were brought back last year alone and further funding has been secured this year to hopefully increase the number in the future.
Empty homes can attract anti-social behaviour and often becomes a magnet for pests as well as devaluing neighbouring properties.
There are an estimated 134,181 properties in the city with around 2,587 of these classed as empty.
Once an empty property has been identified a small team at Coventry City Council work with the owners to try and resolve any obstacles that maybe stopping the property becoming used once again.
If the owner simply does not want to do anything, then enforcement powers are available to solve the situation.
Funding of more than £700,000 has also been secured from the Homes and Communities Agency to fund three extra projects aimed at bring more properties back into use.
The majority of the money will go to Whitefriars Housing to acquire and bring back into use 40 properties.
Coventry homeless charity Emmaus will receive £30,000 to lease and repair two properties while more than £122,000 will go to the Moathouse Community Trust to transform six houses in the Wood End area.
Councillor Ed Ruane, Coventry City Council's Cabinet Member for Housing, said bringing housing stock back into use could make a real difference.
"The economic situation and the pressure for quality housing we face as a city means that these 700 properties over the last five years is a real achievement.
"However there is still more work to do as it makes no sense that there are so many properties still empty for so many reasons.
"Having an empty property in your street can be a miserable experience for neighbours. They can become a haven for vandalism and anti-social behaviour and can be a real eyesore.
"Tracking down errant owners and making sure they do their duty is not an easy task but we need more family homes and at a time when the housing sector is in recession any housing brought back into use will make a valuable contribution."