Empty Home Helpline Aiming to Reduce Homelessness Across Scotland

June 19, 2015

A helpline designed to help bring down rates of homelessness across Scotland has been launched with the backing of the Scottish government.

The initiative will give members of the public a number to call if they see homes or properties being left empty on a long-term basis in their community.

It is hoped that the helpline, which has been created by the Scottish Empty Homes Partnership, will be able to accelerate the process of finding homes for individuals and families who have no permanent place to live.

Shelter Scotland is allowing the helpline to be operated from its offices and the homelessness charity estimates that there are currently close to 150,000 families in Scotland who are on waiting lists for homes of their own.

Funding for the project is being allocated by the Scottish government. Official estimates are that there are in the region of 27,000 private homes currently going unoccupied around the country.

“The launch of the national empty homes helpline is another step towards bringing more of Scotland’s 27,000 long-term private empty homes back into use,” said Graeme Brown from Shelter Scotland.

“We encourage people to call the helpline if they know of a long-term empty home in their area, or if they’re in fact the owner of an empty property,” he said.

Margaret Burgess, a member of the Scottish parliament and a minister for housing and welfare welcomed the launch of the empty homes helpline and said that it makes “absolute sense” for Scotland’s unoccupied properties to be used in ways that will help bring down levels of homelessness.

“By calling the helpline to report empty homes the public can play their part in breathing new life into town centres, aiding community regeneration and bringing empty homes back in to use,” she said.

The new helpline number is 0344 515 1941, with the phones being manned by experts in how to make more use of unoccupied properties.

Hopes are that staff working on the helpline will also be able to coordinate effectively with local authorities as relevant to see more empty homes being occupied across Scotland.

 

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