Dundee and Angus join forces to tackle problem of empty homes

Shelter ScotlandA new partnership has been launched to tackle the problem of empty homes across Dundee and Angus.

The project between the Scottish Empty Homes Partnership, Dundee City Council and Angus Council, is set to launch this week to help bring some of the region’s long-term privately owned empty homes back into use.

In Dundee there are an estimated 1,514 long-term empty homes, while Angus is home to 1,293 vacant properties.

Kristen Hubert of the Scottish Empty Homes Partnership, which is run by Shelter Scotland and funded by the Scottish Government, said: “At a time when housing demand continues to outstrip supply in Dundee and Angus it is important, now more than ever, to think innovatively and make the best use of existing housing stock. It is positive to see proactive joint working by the councils to bring empty homes back into use for families and individuals who desperately need them.

“Whatever the reason for an empty home – whether the owner has sentimental attachment to it or doesn’t have the time, skills or finances to complete their plans – bringing empty homes back into use has many benefits. It adds to the housing supply, contributes to local regeneration and makes for safer neighbourhoods. It’s a win-win situation for owners too as they can begin to realise an income from their property or sell on an asset that is costing them money.

“We look forward to working with Dundee City Council and Angus Council to engage with owners across the region to help transform empty properties back into homes.”

John Alexander, convener of Dundee City Council’s housing committee, said: “We are delighted to be working collaboratively with Shelter Scotland and are keen to ensure that this partnership is not only a success, but allows for greater collaboration in the future. This model will bring about benefits to both Angus and Dundee City Council and ultimately, reduce empty homes and increase the supply for citizens.

“I am sure that when private owners are made aware of the positive outcomes that can be achieved by bringing long term empty houses back into use, they will be as keen as we are to help create decent family homes for people in most need.”

Cllr Morrison, Angus Council’s Communities convener, added: “Following on from our success with the Angus Empty Homes Loan Fund, where we have almost utilised our full allocation of funding in bringing six empty properties back into use, we are excited to begin this new chapter of empty homes work in Angus. It will allow us to complement the financial assistance we can provide with a more hands-on approach to engaging and supporting our residents and help to alleviate the problem of empty properties.”

In 2014-15 1,397 households made homelessness applications to Dundee City Council, while 619 households applied to Angus Council.

According to Shelter Scotland, there are 27,000 long-term empty homes across Scotland.

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