Empty Homes are a disgraceful waste is the message to emerge from today’s [23 August] 21st Century Homes in Scotland conference.
According to the Empty Homes Partnership, funded by the Scottish Government and coordinated by Shelter Scotland, there are 23,000 private sector homes lying empty across Scotland, while over 160,000 households are stuck on waiting lists for a home.
Shelter Scotland and the Empty Homes Partnership are calling for greater commitment from politicians and local authorities to bring long-term empty homes back in to use.
Speaking at the conference in Edinburgh, Kristen Miller, Shelter Scotland’s Empty Homes Co-ordinator, said:
“Empty homes are a disgraceful waste at a time when housing demand outstrips supply. With fewer homes being built, there is no end in sight for the tens of thousands of households in Scotland stuck on housing waiting lists.
“We urge council’s to do all they can to make use of the houses they already have in their communities. Bringing empty homes back in to use has many benefits - it adds to the housing supply, contributes to local regeneration and supports rural communities and community safety.”
The one-day conference, chaired by Scottish Federation of Housing Associations chief executive Mary Taylor and attended by council and housing professionals from across Scotland, will outline key challenges facing the housing sector in light of the changing financial and economic context across Scotland.
Miller added: “It is encouraging that the Scottish government promised to extend the Empty Homes Partnership in their manifesto. Their commitment illustrates our belief that if protected and refurbished, empty homes can be a vital source of housing supply for communities suffering from chronic shortages of affordable housing. That’s why we want to see empty homes become part of the solution in addressing the lack of housing in Scotland.”
Since launching, 21 of Scotland’s 32 local authorities have signed up to the www.reportemptyhomes.com website, where members of the public are encouraged to report empty homes in their communities.
Notes to Editors:
- Shelter Scotland provides expert support services, online advice and a free national helpline for everyone facing housing and homelessness difficulties. For advice and support visit http://scotland.shelter.org.uk or call 0808 800 4444.
- Spokespeople are available for interview – call the media office on 0844 515 2442.
- Follow Shelter Scotland on Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/shelterinscotland Twitter – http://twitter.com/shelterscotland
Shelter Scotland believes everyone should have a home. We help people find and keep a home. We campaign for decent housing for all.
Contact: Sabina Kadic-Mackenzie
Phone: 0844 515 2442