‘Give properties to homeless people’

An empty house and (below) Howard Phillips who says they could be used to take homeless people out of B&Bs.

An empty house and (below) Howard Phillips who says they could be used to take homeless people out of B&Bs.

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AN ACTION group has called for empty properties to be given to the homeless.

Wyre council’s Empty Homes Strategy aims to reduce the amount of properties standing unused and being targeted by vandals across the borough.

Howard Phillips who says they could be used to take homeless people out of B&Bs.

Howard Phillips who says they could be used to take homeless people out of B&Bs.

Howard Phillips, vice chairman of Thornton Action Group, said: “Empty homes can be a source of nuisance and I’m sure residents don’t want them in their area because they could be subject to vandalism or broken into.

“People could break in and all sorts of problems could occur, but they can be used for the benefit of someone who hasn’t got anywhere to live.

“Neighbours see them as something which blights the area but you can’t takeover a house just because the garden is overgrown, there has to be a balance and checks have to be carried out. If they can be a use for people and they take the homeless out of B&Bs, that’s a good thing.”

Figures from last December revealed there were more than 600 empty homes across Wyre.

Coun Roger Berry, portfolio holder for neighbourhood services, said in a report: “A corporate Empty Homes Working Group has been established and on-going work includes the development of a system for prioritising problematic empty homes for coordinated enforcement action.

“We are working with Regenda, Fylde Coast YMCA and the Ashley Foundation to deliver against recent allocations of Empty Homes Funding and activity to ensure our empty home records are up to date.”

Tracy Heyes, executive director of Operations at Regenda, said: “Thanks to funding from the Homes and Communities Agency we will be able to restore seven much needed affordable rented homes in Fleetwood to provide good quality accommodation for local families.

“Two homes will be restored by the end of March 2013 and a further five properties by the end of March 2014.”

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