Stirling Council empty homes officer named a finalist at prestigious awards

Allyson Allison with an earlier award

A Stirling Council worker is in the running for two prestigious accolades for her efforts in bringing empty homes back into use.

Empty homes officer, Allyson Allison, has been named as a finalist in the Outstanding Individual and Best Before and After categories at the Howdens Scottish Empty Homes Champions of the Year Awards, which will be held at the Engine Shed in Stirling.

An empty home is classed as a privately owned property which has been unoccupied for six months or more.

Since 2013, Stirling Council has returned 266 empty homes, providing the authority with an extra £308,000 to run vital services.

Allyson said: “It’s a real honour to have been shortlisted for the Scottish Empty Homes Partnership awards.

“I fully understand the complex reasons why properties can become long term empty, including the emotional complexities. I would encourage any empty home owner to get in touch and I can help them identify a suitable solution to bring their long term empty home back into use.

“I get great job satisfaction and at the same time my role is contributing to the national strategic objectives of bringing long term empty homes back into use and therefore contributing to the increase supply of homes.”

Along with wasting resources, problems associated with long-term empty homes include crime and anti-social behaviour. They also reduce the value of surrounding properties and can be an eyesore.

Councillor Evelyn Tweed, housing portfolio holder for Stirling Council, said: “Empty homes have a damaging effect on communities and bringing these 266 properties back into use brings a range of environmental, social and economic benefits to Stirling.

“First and foremost, this initiative provides local people and families with much-needed homes, but it also improves the sustainability of communities, discourages anti-social behaviour and brings in increased revenue to the council.

“Congratulations to Allyson on her nominations and well done to the housing team for their hard work in returning so many homes as we tackle this national issue.”

Shaheena Din, national manager of the Scottish Empty Homes Partnership, said: “I’d like to congratulate Allyson for becoming a finalist at this year’s awards.

“All our finalists have impressed our judging panel with the innovation and dedication that they bring to the task of helping owners and others bring empty homes back into use.

“This work is vital to ensuring we increase the supply of housing and strengthen communities which can be blighted by the impact of long-term empty properties.”

The award ceremony will take place at the Scottish Empty Homes Partnership annual conference which will be held at the Engine Shed, Stirling, on Monday, November 26.

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