A campaign to bring thousands of empty Leeds homes back into use is to be launched this month.
Council figures indicate there are more than 15,000 empty homes across Leeds – the vast majority of them in the private sector.
Described as a “call to action” on empty homes and devised by Social Business Brokers, a Leeds-based social enterprise run by entrepreneurs Rob Greenland and Gill Coupland, the initiative will seek to develop practical and socially innovative solutions to renovate homes and bring them back into use.
It will be launched at the Greenhouse, Beeston, on May 16 with the focus put on one specific property. Organisations will be asked to consider how they can work together to bring the home back into use.
The organisers hope it could lead to a successful renovation model that could be rolled out across the city.
Special guest at the event will be Channel 4 Television’s George Clarke, star of Restoration Man and The Great British Property Scandal, who is campaigning nationally on the empty homes issue.
He said: “Our national campaign is all about highlighting the scandal of perfectly good properties lying empty and abandoned whilst families need decent homes.
“Every city has its own problems with empty homes but Leeds has really bitten the bullet by taking practical action to tackle their problem – that takes courage, creativity and a real can-do attitude.”
Rob Greenland said: “It’s crazy that 15,000 homes are empty in Leeds while 27,000 people remain on the council’s housing waiting list.
“People don’t like seeing properties going to waste and they don’t like living near rows of boarded up houses – we think it’s time things changed. We know there are lots of great initiatives across Leeds and we know people care about this issue.
“Our aim is to bring together key players from the private, public and third sectors with the aim of stimulating and encouraging a range of approaches and activities to put more empty homes back into use.”