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Call for action during Empty Homes Week

The National Week of Action on Empty Homes will run from November 22-29. The week is organised by the Empty Homes Agency to highlight the growing crisis of empty homes in the face of housing need.

The Empty Homes Agency estimates that numbers of empty homes across the UK has reached one million for the first time in more than a decade. Amazingly the figures may be an underestimate, as government does not reveal how many empty homes it owns itself.

At the same time half a million families live in overcrowded conditions. House building has slowed to the lowest rate since the 1920s. The Empty Homes Agency will show how the country’s housing crisis could be eased by a concerted effort to turn empty properties into homes.

The Empty Homes Agency will be calling on the government to disclose details of its own empty property, and will be highlighting what people can do to get publicly owned empty homes into use. It will also be highlighting how communities are already making new homes out of empty property.

The Empty Homes Agency’s chief executive, David Ireland, told “The most effective action to bring new life to empty homes is nearly always that driven by the community in which the homes lie. The very best examples of these are housing cooperatives and self-help agencies.  Not only do they develop homes,  they help people develop their own skills and talents. It’s a great way for people to litteraly help rebuild their communities. We are calling on the government to properly recognise the extraordinary work these organisations do  and allow them to compete for housing funding in the same way as registered housing associations.”

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