The empty homes challenge Why empty homes matter Why empty homes matter There are too many homes lying empty Latest Government data shows that over 238,000 homes in England have been empty for over six months. In all, over 600,000 homes are currently vacant. Add in over 67,000 holiday lets and 253,000 second homes and total vacancy sits at around a million homes, meaning that across England 1 in every 25 homes is without residents. Leaving homes empty is a waste We believe that we cannot afford to waste such properties. In England 100,000 families are trapped in often poor quality, insecure Temporary Accommodation, which does not meet the standards that are required of the permanent, secure, social housing these families are entitled to. Bringing empty homes into use helps neighbourhoods There are neighbourhoods with clusters of empty homes. Tackling empty homes in these areas should be part of wider neighbourhood initiatives that start from the perspective of the issues people face there. Communities can rebuild, but while councils can facilitate and support this, Government should also empower them and must urgently invest in them; otherwise the much-vaunted 'Levelling Up' and 'Building Back Better' are destined to become just two more discredited soundbite slogans. It makes environmental sense Creating homes from empty properties saves substantial amounts of material compared to building new homes, minimises the amount of land used for development and avoids wasting embedded carbon; helping to combat climate change. Furthermore starting a 'retrofit revolution' with empty homes makes sense as deep retrofit is most easily and cost-effectively achieved while homes are unoccupied.