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Community group brings vacant homes back to life

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Community group brings vacant homes back to life

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Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Communities, Local Government

empty home middlesbrough empty home middlesbrough

Empty homes that were once a blight on Middlesbrough's streets are being brought back into use by a community group.

Supported by social landlord North Star Housing Group, Middlesbrough Community Land Trust (MCLT) was formed to look at ways to tackle the problem of long standing empty homes in the area.

After being awarded funding from the Home and Communities Agency’s empty homes programme, the volunteer-led group was granted full ownership of three void properties by Middlesbrough Council in 2012.

Mark Keenan, MCLT's director and finance officer, said: “The initiative has carried out fantastic work so far, turning lifeless empty properties into desirable, affordable family homes for Middlesbrough. We’re very proud of our success. All work is guaranteed and completed to a very high standard.”

After further success in round two of the empty homes funding project, the council has now transferred four more properties over to the trust on a lease basis.

Sally Thomas, head of community investment at North Star Housing Group, said: “It’s about helping communities to help themselves, by championing community-led housing initiatives, not seeing them as competition.

“The trust chose to focus its efforts on the area of Gresham as there is a strong sense of community there, as well as empty homes to bring back into use. But, since the introduction of welfare reform, that community, like many others, has become much more fragile.

“This project may start with bricks and mortar, but it means so much more than that to the local people and neighbourhoods of Gresham.”

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