£2.9m windfall for empty homes scheme

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AN empty homes scheme is set to receive a £2.9m Government windfall to refurbish properties and provide affordable homes.

Housing regeneration company Coast & Country will use the money to extend its successful Empty Homes scheme in Hartlepool, Stockton, and Redcar and Cleveland.

The scheme will look to refurbish a further 205 properties and provide more training to those seeking construction experience by working with enterprises that support and train young unemployed people.

The partnership, which is funded by the Homes & Communities Agency (HCA), saw 11 properties brought back into use in its first year, with another 29 properties to be completed by the end of this month after having 30 trainees working on them.

The announcement of more cash for the scheme was made by Communities Minister Andrew Stunell, who last year visited a property being renovated by the project.

He said: “Coast & Country’s collaborative approach reflects exactly what the Government, which is determined to overcome the affordable homes shortfall, wants to see happening in local communities.”

Iain Sim, chief executive of Coast & Country, one of the largest regeneration and housing companies in the North-East, said: “Our pioneering Empty Homes project has been an outstanding success delivering several benefits in one solution so it is satisfying to see the Government helping other organisations to follow our lead.”

Coast & Country will receive funding, subject to contract, as part of a £2.9m allocation for Spirit Partnership Tees Valley for 205 homes.