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Best Local Authority / Community Housing Organisation Partnership Award 2015

This was the second year that this Partnership award has been presented at our Empty Homes Awards 2015 ceremony, (ceremony sponsored by Grafton UK Ltd). The Award was jointly sponsored by Habitat for Humanity and the Empty Homes Network itself, reflecting the commitment of both organisations to fostering partnership working between local authorities and community organisations.

Nationwide announces new Empty Homes Grant programme

The Nationwide Foundation has launched a new, £1million empty properties funding programme to bring long-term empty properties back into use for people in housing need. This follows on from a previous, similar programme.

Applicants must be not-for-profit, non-statutory organisations and may seek funding in the form of grant or social investment or both. Bids may range between £100,000 and £175,000. Encouragement is given to projects that:

Empty Homes Agency launches campaign with new report

The Empty Homes Agency has produced a report about the numbers of empty homes in England, making recommendations for some key measures to bring the numbers down. The Agency has for many years been the custodian of figures about empty homes in England: but this beautifully-written report by Helen Williams is the first attempt for a more user-friendly approach to the statistics, featuring useful maps and clearly-written explanations of both methodology and interpretation.

East Lancs. empty homes provider goes bust

According to a report in the Lancashire Telegraph, and confirmed by a statement on the Rossendale Borough Council website, a key provider in £5.6million empty homes programme has gone into administration. The company, AAAW Ltd., is reported to have debts of over £275,000.

It is understood that most if not all of the reported £5.6 million was funding from the Homes and Communities Agency under the empty homes programme. In addition, AAAW seems to have been involved in a wide range of leasing and letting services connected with homelessness.

Islington tackles buy-to-leave through planning policy

As of 17th July 2015, the London Borough of Islington has introduced an innovative new planning policy aimed at tackling the so-called "buy-to-leave" phenomenon. Islington's approach relies on a Supplementary Planning Document entitled "Preventing Wasted Housing Supply". This will require developers to sign a "Section 106" agreement [S106][1] aimed at ensuring that homes are occupied after they are completed: effectively the agreement cascades down to individual owners as the S106 obligations run with the land as a land charge.

Salford University empty homes research wins award

Tameside Council has recently completed a two year Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) in collaboration with the University of Salford. The KTP set out to explore the reasons for empty ownership in the borough. Instead of concentrating exclusively on the physical and geographical nature of the empty homes , our research attempted, where possible, to focus on this social phenomenon from the perspective of the empty home owner.

EHA presses candidates on empty homes stance

Empty Homes Agency Chief Executive Helen Williams is pushing Parliamentary candidates in England to commit to doing more about empty homes in the runup to the General Election on May 7th.

Candidates from all the main parties have been sent emails which EHA says "has prompted a good deal of interest, pledges and tweets across the political spectrum."

Email to prospective parliamentary candidates:

Dear Candidate

Empty Homes Agency campaign to reduce long-term empty homes

Regeneration preferred to demolition according to yougov research

Research commissioned by Callcredit Information Group reveals that there is a strong preference for retaining empty homes and regeneration rather than replacing them with new homes.

The research was conducted online by Yougov on 9th-10th April and involved 1,782 adults, with figures weighted to be representative of all UK adults. Callcredit sell their data so we have not been able to analyse it any further than the information provided in their press release, which can be found here.

Empty Homes Awards 2015 - your submissions

Empty Homes Awards 2015 open for entries

Every year we present awards to recognise excellence in empty homes work at our Annual Conference at a ceremony sponsored by Grafton UK Ltd.

We'd love to get your submissions for these awards - by midnight, Wednesday, 29th April please. Submissions should be clear and to the point and no more than two sides of A4 or the equivalent in an email, per award.

May Conference: Kent No Use Empty initiative becomes Gold Supporter

We are pleased to announce that the Kent No Use Empty Initiative has become a Gold Supporter for the National Empty Homes Conference organised by the Empty Homes Network for 20th May 2015 in Birmingham.

The Kent initiative has established a fantastic track record on delivery and aspects of its model have now been exported to Wales and to the West of England partnership of four authorities around Bristol. Support from No Use Empty represents a big vote of confidence in our Conference.

Meeting the challenge of low demand? - News Review

There have been a fair few stories over the last two or three weeks about significant numbers of empty homes in Durham mining villages near Easington which demonstrate that the issues associated with "low demand" - and the search for solutions - are still very much alive.

In the news stories it is Horden in particular which has been singled out, with a claimed 130 empty homes owned by Accent housing association now slated for disposal and reportedly another 130 to follow.

Canopy report reveals benefits of empty homes project

A report commissioned by Canopy Housing Project in Leeds and published early in 2014 shows the benefits that self-help housing can bring to a range of different stakeholders.

Written by Andy Bagley (Real-Improvements consultancy), this is a first-stage, preliminary report on the Social Return on Investment (SROI) provided by Canopy's project to bring empty homes back into use, a project which also draws in volunteers, provides homes, and helps people into training and work.

Empty Homes Network launches first Online Practitioner Guide to enforced sale

The Empty Homes Network is pleased to be able to offer its first online Practitioner Guide. The new Guide to Enforced Sale has been written by Chris Skinner.

Chris, a solicitor at Norfolk County Council's shared legal services nplaw, is known for his work on enforced sales and compulsory purchase orders and will be speaking at our May 20th Conference.

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