Call for nominations for empty homes champions awards

Shelter Scotland is calling for nominations for an awards ceremony to recognise the work of people fighting to bring Scotland’s 39,000 privately-owned, long-term empty homes back into use.

Call for nominations for empty homes champions awards

Shaheena Din

The Howdens Scottish Empty Homes Champion of the Year Awards is held every year to showcase the work of those tackling the waste of vacant property, as Scotland struggles with a housing emergency.

The ceremony takes place alongside the Scottish Empty Homes Partnership annual conference on 20th November at Riddle’s Court in Edinburgh.

Organisers are looking for people to nominate a person, team, group or company in any of the five categories: Best Before & After Photo, Practitioner of the Year, Best Collaborative Project, Outstanding Service and Oldest Long-Term Empty brought back into use.

Philip Hanson, depot manager for Howdens Joinery, which is sponsoring the awards for a fifth year, said: “Howdens Joinery is proud to be sponsoring the Scottish Empty Homes Champion of the Year Awards for the fifth year running. The work being celebrated has resulted in thousands of homes being brought back into use as badly needed housing stock. For people who need homes and neighbours who’ve had to put up with neglected buildings this can be a hugely positive impact but it’s also good for the local economy as households use shops and services in their area.”

Shaheena Din, National Manager of the Scottish Empty Homes Partnership, said: “This year we have been able to report our best year yet with more than 1,000 formerly long-term empty properties brought back into use for the first time since the partnership was established. That achievement is down to the hard work of empty homes officers and others working across the country.

“It takes a great deal of knowledge, skill and determination to find, motivate and support owners but it is vital that we do so to end the waste of empty property during a housing emergency. These awards are about recognising that hard work and giving people working in the field an opportunity to share tactics and inspire each other.”

Housing minister Kevin Stewart added: “We want everyone to have a safe, warm place to live. That’s not just about building new homes, but making better use of existing stock. Long-term empty homes can be a blight on communities and are a wasted resource at a time when we need more homes. Bringing them back into use is a cost-effective way to increase supply, and support community regeneration.

“The Scottish Empty Homes Partnership and the network of empty homes officers working in councils throughout Scotland brought back 1,128 long-term empty homes last year – its most successful year to date. I encourage local authorities across the country to embrace this invaluable work.”

Award submissions can be made on the Shelter Scotland website.

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