Towns across England will benefit from an additional £91 million of investment that will refurbish empty homes and commercial premises.
Communities minister Don Foster announced the programme today (June 20th) and now 6,000 derelict homes will be refurbished as a result.
The main focus will be in the Midlands and the north where the problem is much more severe than other areas of the country. Some £33 million of the empty homes programme funding will go to the north of England, with a further £11 million heading to the Midlands.
Specifically, the money will be spent on refurbishment in areas where empty properties have commonly led to problems such as squatting and rat infestation.
Properties such as this have led to house prices being affected, which naturally drives any remaining residents away from the area and deters people from moving in.
The funding is being allocated from two programmes. The first will see £61 million from the second round of the empty homes funding programme. Around two thirds of this (£41 million) is to be allocated by the Homes and Communities Agency to registered social landlords and the remaining money will go to community and voluntary groups.
After this, the second windfall, representing £30 million, is funding for 20 partnerships in areas of severe problems such as Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle and Middlesbrough. This scheme will see around 3,500 homes come back into use.
Andy Rose, Homes & Communities Agency chief executive, 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.”
The government has already invested £130 million to refurbish around 11,500 empty homes in England since 2010, including £100 million to bring empty property back as affordable housing and the first “clusters of empty homes” programme investment of £30 million.