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600,000 homes stand empty as homelessness continues to peak

MORE than 600,000 homes in Britain stand empty while homelessness continues to peak, Attic Self Storage revealed today.

In 2017, there were 605,891 vacant homes in Britain, according to government data.

Of those, around a third were classified as “long-term vacant,” meaning they have been empty for at least six months.

During the same period, there were 4,751 people sleeping rough on the streets on any given night.

Heat maps produced by the storage company showed that the total number of vacant dwellings dropped steadily between 2013 and 2016, but rose by over 15,000 last year.

The north of the country has a consistently higher percentage of vacant buildings than the south, with Burnley in Lancashire recording the highest proportion every year since 2013.

Percentages of vacant dwellings in the City of London and Southwark has more than doubled in five years and the number of empty houses in Liverpool is at its highest since 2013.

Attic Self Storage chief executive Frederic de Ryckman de Betz said: “As the nights get colder and longer, we wanted to look into potential solutions that would provide shelter for the most vulnerable in society.

“While the availability of affordable housing is clearly only one factor contributing to the issue of homelessness, we hope that by highlighting the availability of potential homes for those in need, we will move those that can effect change into action.”

Last year, 440 people died on the streets in Britain.

Shelter chief executive Polly Neate said: “Looking at the figures, it’s exasperating to see that the number of empty properties has increased at a time when there are so many families without a safe and secure place to call home.

“And while this is incredibly frustrating, some of these homes will be empty for good reason and others are in the wrong place to offer any kind of practical solution for those in desperate need of a home.

“Ultimately our entrenched housing problems will only be fixed by building more social housing. Which is why we need the government to remain focused and to prioritise the building of more social housing urgently.”

You can read Attic Self Storage’s research here

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