• Lead Member Hull City Council
  • Categories Housing

Hull is an area of low housing demand, with high levels of empty homes in concentrated areas of the city, as well as low wages and high unemployment. The council’s strategic vision and investment, combined with the local knowledge and social value of the Community-Led Housing groups, returned 576 empty homes to use in 2012-15 and transformed neighbourhoods.

Hull City Council (HCC) set up a community partners group of small registered providers (RPs) and community-led development organisations such as Giroscope and Goodwin Development Trust that refurbish empty properties. The aim was to support groups in funding bids, to help provide focus and targeted areas to address and to share experiences and best practice. Through investing in the streetscene and frontage renovation, and involving communities in empty homes regeneration, confidence in neighbourhoods increased, attracting further investment and new residents.

In the past HCC has made council properties available to CLH organisations for refurbishment. Less surplus stock is available now, but it has been able to assist with identifying empty properties and mediating between the owners and CLH groups to bring them back into use. It is considering identifying land available to encourage community and self-delivered schemes.

The biggest barriers for HCC are the lack of staff time for partnership work, and funding. Since DCLG community development funding ended in 2015, there is a lack of grant funding to make schemes work in high priority areas due to the low property values. HCC established a RTB Replacement Programme Grant using surplus receipts to invest in affordable housing through RPs and community-led development. It recently used its prudential borrowing facility to provide a community organisation with a development finance loan of c£3m for a new build project. However, these resources are insufficient to deliver at the scale needed.

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