Empty homes scheme opens its doors

An innovative scheme to bring some of Sunderland’s empty homes back into use, and improve the quality of affordable rental accommodation, has recently completed its first properties. 

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11 May 2021

Thirteen, in partnership with Sunderland City Council and local charity Back on The Map, is delivering the 'Empty Homes’ scheme, to unlock the potential of empty homes across Pallion, Millfield and Hendon in Sunderland, supporting the regeneration and sustainability of the area.

Assisted by grant funding from Homes England, the scheme is part of the partnership’s ongoing commitment to return empty properties back into use as homes in Sunderland and minimise the time properties stand empty, with the aim of driving up standards of accommodation in the city’s rental sector.

The partnership has recently purchased and renovated seven empty properties with more planned over the next year. Work has included new doors, windows, kitchens, central heating, roofing and bathrooms, as well as painting and decorating.

David Murray, Thirteen’s regeneration empty homes co-ordinator, said:

“We’re really proud to be working alongside partners to deliver this fantastic scheme, which is not only bringing long-term empty properties back into use as homes and helping the many people who need housing but it’s also regenerating neighbourhoods too.

“We’re passionate about making a real difference to the communities such as those across Pallion, Millfield and Hendon, offering the right homes and creating neighbourhood’s people really want to live in.”

The scheme supports and complements Sunderland City Council’s £59m Housing Delivery and Investment Plan (HDIP) which aims to bring more than 360 empty properties into use as family homes over the next five years. In addition, the Council plan to deliver 117 new build bungalows and create 95 new homes as supported accommodation.

Graham Scanlon, assistant director of housing at Sunderland City Council, said:

“We’re delighted that our partnership with Thirteen is breathing new life into homes that have been empty for a long time. Empty homes blight communities and bringing them back into use for homes for local people is fantastic to see.

“This is an exciting partnership and programme of work that will ensure that the city has more high-quality homes for affordable rent, which is something residents have told us they want to see.”