Sheffield Council brings 600 empty homes back into use

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SHEFFIELD Council has brought more than 600 empty homes back into use for residents over the past year.

Last year, the council set up a small team of officers to help restore long-term empty properties in the city to an inhabitable standard.

Over an 11-month period, the team worked with private home owners to bring 609 vacant residences back into use.

Coun Harry Harpham, council cabinet member for homes and neighbourhoods, said there is a shortage of local housing.

He said: “Through the empty homes programme we are able to help bring many unused properties back into circulation, providing housing for those who need it most.

“So far, we have brought 609 homes back into use which is a fantastic achievement. The council offers a range of advice and services to help owners renovate, let or sell their properties.

“We’re confident our scheme will bring more empty homes back into use.”

Two years ago, the Government announced a £100 million fund to restore empty homes.

It is intended that the funding will deliver at least 3,300 new affordable homes by March 2015.

The council is focusing on restoring empty homes as the authority says they attract crime and anti-social behaviour such as vandalism and arson attacks.

The council says vacant homes cause an increase in costs, through dealing with issues such as vandalism and rubbish dumping, and result in more development on greenfield sites as demand for housing increases.

Empty homes in England account for 3 per cent of the total housing stock.

According to council tax data, there were 734,000 vacant dwellings at the end of September 2010.

Out of those, 301,000 were in the private sector.