Sponsorship of this year’s Innovation Award was provided by E.ON Empty Home Solutions, along with the sponsorship of the Awards Ceremony. Perhaps it’s a shame that this barred them from nominating themselves for the Award because, as innovation goes, a giant energy company involving itself in the gritty work of bringing empty homes back into use is certainly up there with the most original initiatives we’ve seen.
This was a new category in our Empty Homes Awards and it produced more entries than we have ever had, in any category.
Sponsorship from Cromwood Social
We also had a new sponsor, in the shape of London social housing provider Cromwood Social thanks in part to the advocacy of Abdus Saleh, their Head of Investment and Development, who has had a long-time involvement with empty homes issues as an enabler.
Contributing to the Conference Brochure, the organisation wrote:
Sarah Jones, who ousted Gavin Barwell at the General Election, singles out empty homes as an issue where her predecessor as MP could easily have done more as Housing Minister, but failed to do so.
She also claims that the number of empties in Croydon has risen 400% since 2013, a statistic which deserves some further scrutiny.
Francis of LB Croydon is our South West London rep on the Executive and a star speaker at our Conference a couple of years back. Now he is going for the big time with appearances in the BBC1 series The Housing Enforcers.
The link is to Episode 12 (Tuesday, 14th March). Francis is also apparently starring in Episode 16 on Monday 20th according to the schedule:
This is a social investment vehicle which is sourcing homes for people who are homeless or vulnerable to homelessness. There are obvious ways in which this kind of venture can support the purchase of empty properties.
Gavin Barwell, M.P. for Croydon Central, is to replace Brandon Lewis as the Minister for Housing and Planning at the Department of Communities and Local Government. He is also to be Minister for London.
Barwell became an M.P. in 2010 and has previously been a junior member of the government, including as Parliamentary Private Secretary for Greg Clark. Greg Clark has also moved on, to be replaced as Communities Secretary by Savid Javid.
The provisional New Homes Bonus figures for 2015-16 show another 10,153 long-term empties returned to use or otherwise removed from the total recorded on the Council Tax Base returns.