Leeds housing charity's bid to raise £350,000 to transform derelict homes

A housing charity has launched a new initiative to raise £350,000 to transform empty properties in Leeds.

By Mark Lavery
Thursday, 15th July 2021, 4:45 pm
James Hartley, chief executive officer of Latch, with the Latch property refurbishment team.
James Hartley, chief executive officer of Latch, with the Latch property refurbishment team.

Leeds Action to Create Homes (Latch) has launched a Community Share Issue to give people the chance to make a difference by investing for social good.

The funds raised will enable six currently empty and derelict properties in the Chapeltown, Harehills and Burley areas of Leeds to be completely renovated.

The houses will be transformed into good quality, energy efficient homes for the growing number of people in the city in urgent housing need.

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It is estimated that a family becomes homeless every seven hours in the city, whilst over 3,500 privately owned properties remain empty.

A majority of people in need of housing face other challenges in their lives including unemployment, domestic violence and abuse.

All Latch tenants are provided with support in everything from financial matters to job seeking and mental health for as long as they need to get their lives back on track.

The charity also builds futures for the long term unemployed, by providing opportunities for trainees to join them to gain vital construction skills, working alongside staff to complete the renovations.

The charity wants to raise £350,000, which will be matched by funds raised from its more traditional funding base of grants and loans.

If more can be raised, more properties can be purchased and more lives transformed.

James Hartley, chief executive officer of Latch, said: “The Community Share Issue is a way for local communities to give back and make a real difference here in Leeds whilst also benefiting financially themselves.

"This is the first time we will have raised funds like this in our 30 year history but it’s an established model in the social housing and wider charity sector with Leeds Community Homes leading the way here in 2018.

"More properties mean we can change more lives. Six new properties mean we could help six more adults and three more children on top of the 140 people already helped each year.

"Renovated houses also have benefits for the wider Leeds community, with derelict properties tending to be hubs of antisocial activity.

"We’re really proud of the long legacy of positive impact we have on both individual lives and those of the communities in which we work.”

Latch said socially responsible investors could earn a return of up to four per cent per year and members of local communities can join together as a group to invest. Like any investment, there are risks associated.

Anyone interested can find out more at www.ethex.org.uk/latc