Landmark for Bath charity that aids homeless
A Bath charity has housed its 20th person after setting up a lettings agency which is now bringing empty homes back into use.
The social enterprise Home Turf Lettings has been set up by Developing Health and Independence (DHI) to encourage landlords to rent properties to homeless people.
Launched in April, it provides lettings and property management services, and also rents properties in its own name – guaranteeing the rent and giving an assurance that the property will be handed back in its original condition.
It has just housed its 20th previously homeless or at-risk tenant, and is now launching the Empty Homes Scheme, offering cash grants of up to £3,500 and interest-free loans of up to £7,000 to pay for the refurbishment of empty properties in B&NES and South Gloucestershire.
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DHI is appealing to the local community to nominate empty buildings they would like to see refurbished.
The properties will be rented out at affordable rents for at least five years following refurbishment, and the owner can have as much or as little involvement as they wish in the improvement work.
Home Turf business development director Mark Coates said: "It's taken a lot of hard work to get Home Turf up and running, but we're delighted seven months in to have hit the landmark of housing our 20th homeless client. We still have a long waiting list of good, reliable tenants so are keen to talk with local landlords who may be interested in working with us."
It has funding from the Department for Communities and Local Government to bring back 18 empty properties over the next three years.
The money has come from a fund unveiled by Bath MP and Communities Minister Don Foster, pictured, who this week announced there would be £300 million to bring thousands of additional empty homes back into use.
He pledged to "stop the rot" that empty homes can bring to blighted neighbourhoods.
Property owner Margaret Hurley, the most recent landlord to sign up with Home Turf with a property that had previously been empty, praised the organisation's support.
"The support I've received from Home Turf Lettings to prepare the cottage for rental has been exemplary. I am delighted that it is providing a home for people in need."
If you own an empty property, or know of one that you would like to see brought back into use as affordable housing, call Mark on 01225 478730 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.