I am just finishing my first full week as Director of Action on Empty Homes.
I come to the world of housing almost entirely new to the subject, barring my recent and ongoing involvement in the Community Plan for Holloway (see the link below).
My route here came by way of over a decade of work on criminal justice policy, where I learned prisons are full of some of the most vulnerable people in our country. Criminal justice has become a repository for people with the type of social problems we are finding it very difficult to resolve as a society.
Having concluded that criminal justice has shown overwhelming resilience to being reformed in any meaningful way, I thought it would be a good idea to work on one of the many social policy problems that lead to people walking through the prison gates. One of the key issues is homelessness, so when job advert for Director of Empty Homes came up it seemed a logical next step.
What is in a name? Agency, charity, and action?
Go on to Google and we are called the ‘Empty Homes Agency’ Go on to our present website and we are ‘Empty Homes- national campaigning charity’. To confuse, or eventually and hopefully, clarify matters more, we have agreed to adopt a new name - Action on Empty Homes. There will be an official launch, but I thought it was wise to let you all know.
The change of name suits me fine, as it reflects the work I have most enjoyed - campaigning on social justice issues. Research and the evidence base are essential to understanding the world we live in and I strongly support the necessity of evidence-based campaigning. For me, it is the action that results from the evidence and produces social change that is crucial. So that will be my focus.
Empty Homes Week
The Empty Homes week (15 to 21 October) is high on my agenda. I hope that many of you will encourage your authorities to take part, the number of empty homes is on the rise again and we need to bring this to the attention of the public and policymakers. There is a link below with details of what was achieved last year as food for thought.
Empty Homes Conference
I am hoping to meet you all at the Empty Homes Conference 2018 on 18th October. I will have something to say but in the main will be all ears. I am hoping that we can have a dialogue that will enable us to refresh and renew the partnership between Action on Empty Homes and the Empty Homes Network and that you, who are the key practitioners, will let me know what action you think Action on Empty Homes should be taking.
Action on Empty Homes