Monday, 2 December 2013

Tenth Empty Home Purchased

Ten empty homes have been brought back into use following a £1.5 million investment by a local council.

The homes purchased by South Cambridgeshire District Council are being used to provide short term temporary accommodation for vulnerable families and people who find themselves homeless while permanent homes can be found.

The economic downturn and national changes to benefits system has meant more people need support and the homes are one of the ways the Council is minimising the use of bed and breakfast accommodation as a short term solution.

The tenth home is a one-bedroom house in Bar Hill, one of the villages in the district where the Council did not own any Council properties.

Housing bosses are also focusing on preventing families becoming homeless and are reminding residents to step forward and seek help at an early stage if they are struggling to make ends meet. By seeking help early the Council’s housing team has the best chance of keeping people in their own home.

Other measures to bring empty homes back into use include a grant scheme where up to £10,000 will be awarded to a home owner to bring their property up to a good standard in exchange for it being used as affordable rented accommodation for a period of six years.

Cllr Mark Howell, South Cambridgeshire District Council cabinet member for housing, said: “These homes are helping us to make sure we can offer good quality short-term accommodation for vulnerable people when they most need it. We have seen demand rise in recent years and the key message for our residents is to make sure you get in touch for support and advice at an early stage. By stepping forward before you are at a high risk of becoming homeless we have far more chance of helping keep you in your current home rather than needing to find you an alternative.”

Owners of empty properties in South Cambridgeshire who are interested in finding out more about the Council’s grant scheme should call the housing policy team on 03450 450 051.