HOMELESS young people are to be given the chance to build a home and a career as part of a new scheme.
Charity Centrepoint is behind the plans, which will see homeless youngsters aged between 16 and 25 refurbish 20 empty properties across the city identified by Sunderland City Council.
It is hoped the work will ultimately be able to provide affordable housing for as many as 40 young people.
Training provider Springboard is also backing the project, meaning those who complete the 12-month programme will gain a City & Guilds Construction Skills qualification.
Jennifer Tennant, North East area manager at Centrepoint, said: “We are really excited about our Empty Homes Project. It’s not only an amazing opportunity to help some of the most vulnerable young people in our area build a career in construction, but the project will also create affordable homes for 40 young people.
“We have a fantastic team in place and we can’t wait for the young people to get started.”
Councillor Graeme Miller, Sunderland City Council’s portfolio holder for health, housing and adult services, praised the project.
“We work closely with a range of partners to identify the accommodation needs of specific groups and how to work together to address them,” he said.
“This project will not only help provide young people with valuable accredited training, but also with the opportunity to use the practical skills they have learned to renovate empty properties which could eventually provide them with a home.
“Returning empty properties back into community use as homes is a high priority for us, and this project is among a number in the city being developed to achieve this long term aim.”