Empty houses to be turned into homes for Sunderland families through renewed effort by city chiefs

Homes which have been left empty for long periods of time are to be transformed into affordable homes for rent by Sunderland families.

Wednesday, 25th September 2019, 3:52 pm
Updated Wednesday, 25th September 2019, 7:30 pm
Properties in Millfield have been the focus of efforts to transform empty properties back into homes for families.

Sunderland City Council has said its determination to tackle the problem of empty properties in the city is a key priority in its City Plan, with incentives being used to drive up the standards of accommodation to return vacant housing into family homes.

Areas including Millfield and Hendon have been singled out among the places where the idea has already proved a success.

The council is working with registered housing provider Thirteen in the Millfield area of the city and looking to purchase long-term empty properties.

Councillor Rebecca Atkinson.

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The initiative is supported by Homes England grant and properties will be refurbished to a high standard and offered at affordable rents.

Cabinet member for housing and regeneration, Councillor Rebecca Atkinson, said: “We are committed to bringing even more long-term empty properties back into use, building on the successful partnership working in communities like Hendon and Millfield to improve the standards of rented accommodation across the city.

“This is part of the first phase of a targeted approach announced at full council earlier this year to reduce the number of empty properties across our city, with other projects in place aimed at all those we have identified with our housing partners.

“Our City Plan is committed to strengthening and improving life in all our communities, and transforming formerly empty houses and flats into affordable homes for local families is part of that process."

The council is also working with Gentoo, contacting the owners of empty properties across the city to find out if they can be bought and turned back into homes and offering them to applicants at an affordable rent.

The council supports Empty Homes Week, run by the charity Empty Homes, to celebrate success and reflect on what more can to be done to meet housing need and improve housing conditions.

Anyone who would like further information, or wants to report or sell an empty property, can contact Lisa Ketley, senior housing officer, on (0191) 561 1636 or email Lisa.Ketley@sunderland.gov.uk, or Lucy Smith, housing officer on (0191) 561 1628 or email Lucy.Smith@sunderland.gov.uk.