Housing

Charity fills up empty homes to tackle housing crisis

Action Homeless have brought 72 units across 23 properties back into use in Leicester with government-backed scheme

Elidh Stringer and Luke Homeless Action

A charity has brought more than 70 empty homes back in to use in their bid to end homelessness in Leicester.

Action Homeless have transformed lives by renovating 72 units across 23 properties, well on their way to their target of refurbishing 100 accommodation spaces across the city by the end of 2018.

After identifying a lack of affordable housing in the city, the charity teamed up with partners to track down the owners of empty properties and worked with them to renovate the units to a high standard.

Our pledge is that our accommodation spaces remain affordable to tenants, so our rents are set in line with local housing allowance rates

To carry out the work, Action Homeless’ sister social enterprise Action Trust enabled tenants, many who were previously homeless, to carry out maintenance work, giving them a job to help get their life on the right track.

Once up to scratch, the property is rented out at an affordable rate while tenants are offered support with either personal or financial problems.

Bringing empty homes back into use has been a key focus for The Big Issue since we launched our Fill ‘Em Up campaign in 2015.

Action Homeless, who have received funding from the Department for Communities and Local Government and The Nationwide Foundation, have helped people like Luke with the scheme. The 31-year-old was referred to the charity by the local council in 2015 after a split with his partner left him sofa surfing and unable to see his four-year-old daughter as a result.

Luke teamed up with three other tenants to renovate a house with his own space as well as an en-suite bathroom, a kitchen and a communal living room.

Luke Homeless Action
Homeless Action helped Luke to stop sofa surfing and to refurbish his own home

Luke said: “This house is giving me a fantastic leg up and a safety net while I save the funds to move on. I want a job and I want to be able to provide for my daughter. Action Homeless haven’t just put a roof over my head, they’re also helping me look and apply for jobs, so they’re really helping me get back on my feet.”

Eilidh Stringer, funding manager at Action Homeless, added: “The project benefits everyone because there are a lot of people out there who don’t have a home at all, and nobody likes to live next door to an empty house as it runs the risk of attracting anti-social behaviour and falling into disrepair.

“It just made sense to marry the two problems together and create a viable solution. Our pledge is that our accommodation spaces remain affordable to tenants, so our rents are set in line with local housing allowance rates.”

Find your local vendor

Find your Vendor

Support the Big Issue

For over 30 years, the Big Issue has been committed to ending poverty in the UK. In 2024, our work is needed more than ever. Find out how you can support the Big Issue today.
Vendor martin Hawes

Recommended for you

View all
Beat the Streets music festival funds new homes for rough sleepers: 'If we could do more, we would'
Homelessness

Beat the Streets music festival funds new homes for rough sleepers: 'If we could do more, we would'

Rents in UK are rising at highest rate in decades. Will they keep going up?
rents uk
Renting

Rents in UK are rising at highest rate in decades. Will they keep going up?

Scotland needs real-time rough sleeping count to save lives
rough sleeping and temporary accommodation in Scotland is under the spotlight on Buchanan Street in Glasgow
homelessness

Scotland needs real-time rough sleeping count to save lives

'More bad news for renters': Rental crisis continues with steep rent rises despite inflation falling
inflation is falling but rents are still rising at a faster rate than wages
RENTING

'More bad news for renters': Rental crisis continues with steep rent rises despite inflation falling

Most Popular

Read All
Renters pay their landlords' buy-to-let mortgages, so they should get a share of the profits
Renters: A mortgage lender's window advertising buy-to-let products
1.

Renters pay their landlords' buy-to-let mortgages, so they should get a share of the profits

Exclusive: Disabled people are 'set up to fail' by the DWP in target-driven disability benefits system, whistleblowers reveal
Pound coins on a piece of paper with disability living allowancve
2.

Exclusive: Disabled people are 'set up to fail' by the DWP in target-driven disability benefits system, whistleblowers reveal

Cost of living payment 2024: Where to get help now the scheme is over
next dwp cost of living payment 2023
3.

Cost of living payment 2024: Where to get help now the scheme is over

Strike dates 2023: From train drivers to NHS doctors, here are the dates to know
4.

Strike dates 2023: From train drivers to NHS doctors, here are the dates to know