The housing crisis continues to cause hardship and suffering to many people, both in urban and rural areas. While many struggle to find a home they can afford, a few are able to buy not one home, but also to stock up on other properties. These might be as second homes, as airbnbs or simply as an investment. In order to meet housing demand, land is sold to developers, using up large areas that might be better used for other purposes, such as green spaces, community farms and gardens, and for nature. And even then, the homes built are usually snapped up as second homes or as holiday lets. The Campaign against Empty Homes believes that action needs to be taken against the hundreds of thousands of empty homes across the country as part of a strategy of tackling the housing crisis. Please promote this press release and send to your local candidates.
MEDIA RELEASE 20.04.22
25th April Digital Day of Action calls for candidates to end the empty homes scandal
Campaign calls for candidates to combat empty homes and stop developers building ‘The Wrong Housing’
As local elections approach the Campaign Against Empty Homes coalitioni which unites housing campaigners across political parties, homelessness and tenant organisations and trade unions call on supporters to seek local election candidate commitments to address the housing crisis.
25 April ‘Digital Day of Action’ will see supporters contact candidates to call for support of a Manifesto of demands that centre on growing numbers of empty homes and action to combat housing policy which leads to tens of thousands of new homes being sucked out of residential use as second homes and Airbnbs, as affordable options for those on average incomes decline to zero across the country.
Coalition members call on supporters and members of the public to ask local election candidates to directly address the housing crisis and support action to end the waste of hundreds of thousands of empty homes.
Long-term empty homes numbers have risen to nearly a quarter of a million and stand 20% higher than 5 years ago despite an intensifying housing crisisii.
Numbers of families in Temporary Accommodation continue to rise with 100,000iii placed in Temporary Accommodation by councils, increasing numbers housed in unsuitable accommodation distant from families and local support networks.
The Manifesto calls on candidates to support:
- Funding local council work to bring empty homes back into use for those who need genuinely affordable, decent and permanent homes to live in.
- Campaigning for national government action through investment and stronger powers to bring wasted homes back into use
- Greater regulation of Airbnb to stop low-cost housing being sucked out of residential use.
- Vacancy Taxes on homes not in residential use, to discourage second home purchases.
- Local and national registers of residential property ownership and use.
- Retrofit First model for social housing to prevent demolitions and help tackle the climate crisis.
- Fair redevelopment to prioritise low-cost homes and council houses to meet demand – not corporate developments that break up local communities.
Will McMahon, Director of Action on Empty Homes, said “We support the Campaign Against Empty Homes Day of Action because it is time we had a frank conversation about vacancy levels. Over half a million homes are out of residential use long-term in England. Without change these homes won’t house anyone any time soon. We need to stop pretending that a quarter of a million second homes in England are really homes at all. We need to get wasted empty homes back into use for those 100,000 families who desperately need them. We must also stop building the wrong housing to end the housing crisis and instead force developers to address the falling numbers of social and genuinely affordable homes available to those in desperate housing need.”
Enquiries: Chris Bailey on 07979 647 237 email@example.com
Notes to Editors:
The Campaign Against Empty Homes is a cross-party coalition calling for action and involving community organisations, trade unions and homelessness projects, as well as members of many different political parties – it calls for everyone concerned about the intensifying housing crisis across the country will call on local politicians to adopt the policies in its Manifesto for the upcoming local elections.
List of Campaign Coalition, supporters: Action on Empty Homes, The Big Issue, Disabled People
Against Cuts, Fuel Poverty Action, The Green Party, Homes for All, Labour Homelessness Campaign,
Renters’ Rights London, Peace & Justice Project, People Before Profit, Radical Housing Network, Social Housing Action Campaign, Southwark Defend Council Housing, Streets Kitchen, Street Storage, Unite the Union London and Eastern Region, Unite Community London and Eastern Region, Yes to Fair Development.
References and data sources:
- Link to the Campaign Against Empty Homes Local Election Manifesto Leaflet HERE
- Action on Empty Homes Facts and Figure (based on Government data): https://www.actiononemptyhomes.org/factsand–figures
HM Government data Dwelling Stock and Vacants: See Table 615: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical–datasets/live–tables–on–dwelling–stock–including–vacants iii House of Commons Library, Households in Temporary Accommodation (England) Feb 2022: https://commonslibrary.parliament.uk/research–briefings/sn02110/