Homeless residents in Potters Bar to benefit from vacant homes refurb

HOMELESS families in Potters Bar are set to benefit from a scheme which will see vacant properties refurbished and then let.

As many as 62 homes, which have stood empty in the town for more than six months, could ultimately be put back into use.

In Hertsmere as a whole, there are nearly 300 unoccupied properties which could be used to help take people off the streets.

The news emerged this week, when Hertsmere Borough Council revealed it had joined the Private Lease Agreements Converting Empties (PLACE) scheme, an initiative which provides grants for repairs to uninhabited homes to enable them to be used as affordable housing.

Initially, 25 properties across the borough will be refurbished at a cost of �800,000.

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However, this is just the first stage of a longer term programme which, the council says, will be rolled out over the coming months.

Cllr Hannah David, portfolio holder for housing, said that by joining the PLACE scheme, the council would be able to help more families that desperately required accommodation.

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She said: “Not only will property owners get the chance to have their properties refurbished, at no cost to them, but people in genuine need of accommodation get the chance to live in a rented home.”

She added: “There is a definite need in this area for homes which have been sitting there rotting away and of no use to be cleaned up and offered to families desperately in need.”

Once an empty home has been identified, the council has to trace its owner and liaise with them to get it back into use.

The scheme is available to owners whose properties have been empty for more than six months and who are struggling to raise the cash to pay for the refurbishment themselves.

Once the properties have been renovated, they will be allocated to those on Hertsmere’s homeless list.

For more information about the scheme, call the council’s empty homes officer Janice Edmond on 020 8207 2277 or email janice.edmond@hertsmere.gov.uk

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