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The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

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Empty homes project praised

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YMCA Glenrothes has been recognised for its work in revamping empty housing for use by those at risk of homelessness

A community project has been praised for its work in bringing empty homes into use as housing for people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.

The Howdens Scottish Empty Homes Champions of the Year Awards celebrates work done across the country to bring the nation’s 37,000 empty homes back into use.

YMCA Glenrothes runs a hub in the centre of the town offering support with housing, health and access to training or social activities for young people. Among its projects is one which buys and renovates empty homes to provide quality supported accommodation to young people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.

The project has scooped the very first People’s Choice category at the awards, pipping to the post entrants from Inverclyde and Perth and Kinross.

The award was announced at an awards ceremony which takes place alongside the Scottish Empty Homes Partnership annual conference earlier this month at The Engine Shed in Stirling.

Mary Hill, chief executive of YMCA Glenrothes, said: “YMCA Glenrothes delivers many homeless programmes that enable young people and adults to receive support and shelter, 365 days a year. To have received so many votes from the people in Scotland means for us, that our service is recognised and appreciated not only for the transformation of bricks and mortar, but the transformation of lives. We appreciate any donations, grants and awards which enable us to support change for the future, providing shelter, programmes and hope.”

Shaheena Din, national manager of the Scottish Empty Homes Partnership, said: “The Glenrothes YMCA project is a tremendous example of how empty homes can be part of the solution to creating good quality affordable housing for people who really need them.

“We’re delighted that members of the public have singled-out this project for attention and hope that it will inspire other third sector organisations across the country to consider empty homes work. This project works closely with the empty homes officer at Fife Council receiving support and advice. This service is also available in most areas of Scotland so a lack of experience needn’t put organisations off getting involved.”

The SEHP was set up in 2010 to encourage and support councils to use the most effective methods of bringing empty homes back into use. Over the past eight years members of the SEHP’s network of empty homes specialists have brought more than 3,650 properties back into use. The partnership is funded by the Scottish Government and hosted by Shelter Scotland.



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