As we celebrate the positive outcomes in this years’ Empty Homes Week 2023, the team at No Use Empty would like to showcase all the great work carried out and the challenges they have overcame to bring empty properties back into use for a 17th year running.
National Empty Homes Week, which begins on Monday (27th) is being marked in Kent by the news that KCC’s No Use Empty initiative has beaten its record for the number of projects carried out in the current financial year for the second year running, with total investment fast approaching £100m.
As the longest-running empty property initiative in the country, NUE retains the aim of reducing the number of empty dwellings that have been unoccupied and substantially unfurnished for over six months.
Delivered by Kent County Council, in partnership with all 12 district councils . NUE provides a model which can be replicated offering financial assistance alongside advice and guidance. The Kent approach has also been adopted by Medway Council and Southend on Sea City Council who both access the services of the NUE team to provide back-office support for their respective loan schemes.
NUE has returned 7,676 empty homes back into use across Kent through a range of interventions including short-term secured loans to provide good quality housing.
The short-term secured loans have reached almost £55.2million which has leveraged an additional £41.7million from the public/private sectors giving a total investment of £96.9m to date.
The Loan Fund operates on a recyclable basis; as soon as loans are repaid the fund is replenished and can effectively be “loaned” again.
Derek Murphy, KCC’s Cabinet Member for Economic Development, said: “In these challenging times, initiatives such as No Use Empty are becoming increasingly important.
“I have visited several projects with the NUE team and have been amazed by the diversity of projects being tackled.
“National Empty Homes Week allows us to promote all the good work across the county. It has been another busy year and we expect to exceed £100m investment into bringing empty homes back into use across Kent this year. The availability of short-term secured loans to developers keen to help solve the housing shortage in this way is making a huge difference.”
Steve Grimshaw, KCC Strategic Programme Manager, said: “There is real enthusiasm from those local developers who are accessing the scheme to borrow short-term finance to bring those derelict sites into use for brand new homes.
“We are supporting 64 schemes across the county, which is four more than we supported in the previous financial year and have more schemes to come.”