Call out to landlords to bring unoccupied homes back into use for those most in need
Grants of up to £10,000 are available to local landlords to refurbish homes which could ensure some of the most vulnerable people continue to have a roof over their heads.
Wigan Council is looking to form partnerships so more people can be led into long term accommodation with housing bosses calling on landlords who may have one bedroom (self-contained flats or studios) properties available in Wigan Borough.
Grant funding is available per potential property via the Greater Manchester Next Steps Accommodation Programme to help meet any necessary refurbishment costs to bring the property up to lettable standard.
Furthermore, an all-inclusive management package is available via the Council’s own Ethical Lettings Agency with a guaranteed monthly income on offer - regardless of whether the property is occupied or not.
Councillor Terry Halliwell, Wigan Council’s cabinet member for housing, welfare and homelessness, said: “Every long-term empty home in the borough is a wasted resource so we want to work closely with landlords who can support this important need.
“Now is the perfect opportunity to build on all the good work that has taken place during the pandemic to help vulnerable people secure a place they can call home.”
"Wigan Council is keen to work with empty homeowners and help them bring their home back into use with advice and financial assistance for refurbishments available.”
Crucially the timeframe is tight with funding available for a limited time. Agreements to provide properties are needed by 31 March 2021, and refurbishment works must be complete with the property handed over on a lease by 30 June 2021.
Bespoke tenancy support will be provided with any of the homes to assist a smooth process.
The callout follows the ‘Everyone In’ initiative during the pandemic which saw approximately 15,000 people who were sleeping rough, in unsafe communal settings or at imminent risk of rough sleeping placed into emergency housing.
Wigan delivered the ‘Everyone In’ policy by closing shared accommodation facilities at Wigan and Leigh Hubs and ‘A Bed Every Night’ provision at St George’s church. Residents at these locations were provided with a self-contained room, predominantly at the Mercure Hotel in Wigan.
The Next Steps Accommodation Programme aims to ensure that the work undertaken during lockdown is not wasted and people don’t return to the streets or unsafe conditions.
Funding is limited across Greater Manchester so the programme is on a first come, first served basis. There is an option for the council to retrospectively pay for refurbishment works providing it was carried out since September 2020 and the property is still untenanted.
Landlords can get in touch with the Ethical Lettings team to discuss via 01942 489 204 or emailing PSLHomes@wigan.gov.uk.
Posted on Thursday 25th February 2021