A YOUNG mother is all smiles after moving into a home refurbished in a project to bring empty properties back into use.
The house in Moore Crescent South, Houghton, is now home sweet home for Dawn Wilkinson, her partner Robert and their daughters Keira, four, and 10-week-old Megan.
Dawn, 25, said: “We are really happy to have moved in and are looking forward to making this our family home for many years to come.
“I discovered I was pregnant at about the same time we found out the property we were living in just down the street was being sold by our landlord, so we were delighted to nominated for his house.
“I must admit the fact it was all boarded it up for a while put me off at first.
“But they’ve fitted a completely new kitchen and bathroom and it’s a perfect two-bedroom home with a garden.”
It was one of three properties brought up to a good living standard as part of the long-term empty properties scheme.
It was a partnership between the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) and Sunderland Council, which identified the buildings, liaised with landlords and found the tenant from its housing register
Gentoo carried out the repairs and improvements.
Dawn added: “Our neighbours say they are delighted to see a family living here again.
“There had been complaints about the property standing empty for so long and it’s really important to bring them back into use wherever possible.”
All the properties chosen had been empty longer than six months.
Councillor Graeme Miller, cabinet member for housing, said: “We are delighted that Dawn, her partner Robert and their children have been able to move into a home which is fit for a family to live in.
“Empty properties and all of the antisocial elements associated with them are a blight on society and the council works hard alongside its partners to tackle the problem.
“This empty property project and the fantastic benefit it has had for Dawn and her family is a shining example of that good partnership work.”