YMCA Glenrothes receives funding to transform empty homes

Nationwide-FoundationOver £158,000 has been injected into affordable housing in Glenrothes to bring long-term empty properties back into use as homes for people who have experienced homelessness or are in housing need.

YMCA Glenrothes has received a grant from the Nationwide Foundation to go towards creating homes for eight people from empty properties in the town.

This new funding is awarded against a backdrop where the Scottish Government is being urged by the Scottish Empty Homes Partnership at Shelter Scotland and the Nationwide Foundation to introduce a £5 million Scottish Empty Homes Community Grants funding programme so that more affordable homes can be created this way.

The proposed programme would build on the success of the English Empty Homes Community Grants Programme and would see more empty homes brought back into use by local organisations and charities. A total of £1,909,658 worth of applications from Scotland were received for the Nationwide Foundation’s empty homes funding programme, clearly demonstrating the demand in Scotland for a larger government backed programme.

YMCA Glenrothes provides a wide range of housing support services for homeless people, including hostel accommodation and flats in the community. The eight tenants of the homes brought back into use with funding from the Nationwide Foundation are likely to be people who are ready to leave YMCA Glenrothes’ temporary accommodation to begin living independently and establish a stable future.

The YMCA’s carefully managed support package will help the tenants overcome the problems they face due to poverty and social and emotional difficulties, as well as providing them with education and route-to-work opportunities. As a way of encouraging new skills and creating a sense of ownership over their homes, the new tenants will be given the opportunity to take part in the design of their new homes.

The funding from the Nationwide Foundation is part of over £1m which the independent charitable funder is awarding around the UK as part of its commitment to help create homes for people in housing need by renovating long-term empty properties.

Leigh Pearce, the Nationwide Foundation’s chief executive, said: “Across Scotland there are thousands of empty properties which could be transformed into decent homes for people in housing need. At a time when so many people are struggling to find an affordable home, it is absurd that properties are left empty. Community-led organisations are well placed to not only create much needed good quality and affordable homes, but they also utilise the renovation process to support some of the most vulnerable, marginalised and disadvantaged local people by offering access to training, employment and other support services.”

Mary Hill, CEO of YMCA Glenrothes, said: “As the only organisation in Scotland awarded Nationwide Foundation funding in this £1m round, YMCA Glenrothes is excited about turning empty Glenrothes houses into homes and matching people to share these homes together. The YMCA looks forward to giving people who are otherwise on the housing waiting list, an earlier chance at getting their own affordable home. This innovative project will also enable young people to get hands-on experience, practising their trade skills in the renovation of Glenrothes properties. We will learn from this fantastic opportunity and would be happy to share the knowledge gained with other voluntary organisations in the future.”

Kristen Hubert from the Scottish Empty Homes Partnership, which is hosted by Shelter Scotland and funded by the Scottish Government, added: “This funding for YMCA Glenrothes is great news and adds to the on-going good work around Scotland to address the problem of empty homes, including projects already funded by the Scottish Government.

“I look forward to seeing the finished project and sharing their success with our network.

“We know there are many community based organisations and social enterprises in Scotland who would jump at the chance to work on a project like this and they’ll be eager to hear more about how it was achieved. Our hope is that a similar Scottish Government backed fund could see even more of these types of projects bringing empty properties back into use as homes across Scotland.”

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