Leeds housing charity reaches milestone as it hands keys over to its 100th renovated home

Leeds Action to Create Homes (Latch) has handed over the keys to its 100th home in the city for tenants in urgent housing need.

By Richard Beecham
Friday, 22nd April 2022, 11:45 am

It follows the charity’s work over more than 30 years in Chapeltown, Harehills and Burley - some of the most deprived areas of the city, and comes at a time when the need for quality homes for those in need has never been greater.

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The mid terrace back-to-back property in Harehills has been completely transformed from a run down, empty and derelict house into a comfortable new home that will house a family with up to two children. The project involved a complete rewire, central heating installation, insulation, plastering, fire doors and full redecoration. The renovation was made possible thanks to funding from the Leeds City Council right to buy grant, the LandAid Foundation and Triodos Bank.

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Latch CEO James Hartley and the 100th house! Pic: Simon Dewhurst

With the addition of this 100th home, Latch is now able to help almost 200 adults and children in Leeds each year to gain an important new start in life and progress towards independent living.

There are more than 5,600 people currently homeless or living in poor quality housing in Leeds, and it is estimated that over 4,700 privately owned homes in the city, like the 100th home transformed by Latch, remain empty despite this deepening housing crisis.

James Hartley, CEO of Latch said: “We are thrilled to reach this important 100th home milestone and to have provided the bricks and mortar to help almost 500 people gain a fresh new start in life over the past decade.

"Comfortable, high quality housing where our tenants can feel secure is the foundation of what we provide but we also offer a whole lot more. This includes personal support and individually tailored training to provide our tenants with any skills that they may need to find work, gain confidence and move on to the eventual goal of independent living. We provide them with everything that they need to support them make positive changes in their lives.”

The charity also provides training opportunities for the long-term unemployed, through its traineeships. Trainees learn vital skills in construction whilst working alongside staff on the property renovations.

Ryan Jeffers, who was a key team member on this recent project, secured permanent work with the charity following the successful completion of a traineeship said: “I learnt a huge range of skills during my time as a trainee with Latch and am proud that led to paid employment. It’s been a real privilege to see this 100th home through from derelict empty property to completed beautiful home.”

It follows news this week that the number of empty council homes in Leeds has nearly doubled since the start of the pandemic, as many are considered unfit for living in while there have been delays in the repairs needed to bring them up to scratch.

Latch say increased costs for building supplies and other materials also means the charity’s work will become more expensive just as the need is getting greater.

The charity is currently working on securing additional funding to help create six new high quality homes, housing up to 12 people, over the next year. The growing problem of fuel poverty will also be tackled through the charity’s ongoing programme of super-insulation installation.