Funding boost to tackle empty homes blight

Simon Donohue

Efforts to bring empty and derelict homes in the North West back into use will be boosted by a further £29m in Government funding.

Communities minister Don Foster has announced that £91m will be spent across England to refurbish more than 6,000 empty and derelict homes and commercial premises.

The Midlands and North of England will receive most help in order to tackle problems such as squatting, rat infestation and collapsing house prices, driving remaining residents away.

The funding is being allocated under two programmes:

  • £61m from the second round of the empty homes funding programme, provided to successful bidders eligible from all areas across England (except London, which will be announced separately) with empty homes. Around two thirds of this, £41m, is allocated by the Homes & Communities Agency to registered social landlords; and the remaining money to community and voluntary groups. Together the 187 successful organisations will bring around 3,200 extra homes back into use.
  • £30m second year award of Clusters of Empty Homes programme funding for 20 partnerships in areas of acute problems such as Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle and Middlesbrough which will bring around 3,500 homes back into use.

Andy Rose, chief executive of the Homes & Communities Agency, said: "We had a very encouraging response to the funding across a wide range of types of property.

"This demonstrates a strong appetite and scope for bringing empty homes and properties back into use, which will help to reinvigorate our communities and towns."

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