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Wipeout homelessness with fewer than half of UK’s empty homes says report

By Rhodri Morgan
January 03 2020, 12.45

Using 41.4% of Britain’s empty homes could end UK homelessness according to new research.

Estate agent comparison website GetAgent.co.uk found that 322,386 homes across the country that have been empty for more than six months could house the estimated 320,000 homeless people in Britain.

With the average number of people per dwelling currently at 2.4, the volume of empty homes in Britain is enough to house 773,726 people with just 133,333 homes.

Founder and CEO of GetAgent.co.uk, Colby Short, said: “We wanted to highlight that at this time of year in particular, there are plenty of empty properties sitting vacant that could be utilised to help those in need.”  

The research also found that the number of vacant homes required in each region to house those classified as rough sleepers differs drastically.

Both Hammersmith and Fulham and Wandsworth have greater rough sleeper numbers than vacant properties, with 614 rough sleepers against 278 vacant homes and 313 rough sleepers against 173 vacant homes respectively. 

Compared to the national average of 53% more vacant homes needed to house the area’s homeless population, Hammersmith and Fulham requires 220.9% more homes and Wandsworth 181.2% more.

In Halton, Cheshire it would take just two households or 0.5% of the 430 vacant homes and less than 10% in Stevenage, Rutland, Eden, South Staffordshire, Windsor and Maidenhead and Bolsover.  

Crawley has the greatest gap, needing some 414 properties in order to house its homeless, despite there being just 30 identified as vacant on a long-term basis.

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