Big problems need creative solutions.
The empty homes scandal is a good example of a seemingly intractable social issue.
A national problem that is felt in every town and city across the country, there are an estimated 610,000 empty homes in Britain.
In Leeds, the city has 4,700 empty homes, of which 90 per cent are privately owned.
As we report in today’s YEP, behind every one of those problematic, uninhabited properties there is a story, and it is often quite sad.
The Empty Homes Doctor service in Leeds has heard them all and the support and advice they have given to absentee owners has resulted in more than 100 dwellings being brought back into use.
The social enterprise receives £100,000 in annual funding from Leeds city council and the outlay seems to have proved a sound investment for the local authority.
For every one that is brought back into use, the council gets a New Homes Bonus from the Government, which equates to six years’ worth of council tax receipts on each property.
The practical help and emotional support offered by the service can be backed up with £5,000 in interest free loans from Leeds city council to help bring properties up to a standard where they can be rented.
This is an inspiring example of a social enterprise chipping away at a big problem.