A council drive to turn derelict properties into homes for Croydon families has passed the 100 mark in one year.
In 2015 the council launched its empty homes campaign to identify, refurbish and rent out homes that had lain empty for more than year.
The aim is to boost the rented sector in Croydon, help cut the number of families living in bed and breakfast accommodation and reduce the blight of empty homes on the borough’s local environment.
Since then, the council has got landlords to do up and re-let 108 flats and 29 houses to families needing temporary accommodation in the borough.
The latest properties to be reoccupied this month are 16 homes in South Croydon that had been empty until the council stepped in to revamp and re-let them with utilities consultancy and social landlord The Monarch Partnership.
The previously-derelict two-bedroom 1930s maisonettes in Haling Grove are now let by Monarch to the council so it can provide medium-term accommodation to families on the housing waiting list.
The 137 properties brought back into use so far under the empty homes programme range from a four-bedroom detached home in Purley that the council bought through a compulsory purchase order in March last year to sites in Waddon, Thornton Heath, Coulsdon and New Addington. The empty homes drive is part-funded by the Greater London Authority, which provides grants to councils that actively look to restore empty homes.
Other improvements in the last year to the council’s housing stock include converting Windsor House, a former office building in Norbury, into new medium-term temporary accommodation, as well as investing £30m in the Real Lettings Fund in partnership with homelessness charity St Mungo Broadway.
“One of our biggest challenges is providing more Croydon families in need with better-quality homes while managing with less money.
“So on top of creating our own development company bringing forward thousands of new-build properties, partnerships like this one are important to meet our housing supply needs.”
Councillor Alison Butler, deputy leader and cabinet member for homes, regeneration and planning
Arjan Dosanjh, commercial director of The Monarch Partnership, said: “We’re proud to cooperate with Croydon Council and offer these 16 homes in support of the council’s empty homes campaign. We look forward to continuing our collaboration on new projects to provide affordable housing as we kick off our own campaign. We invite other private companies to step up and do the same.”
The council is encouraging residents to report empty properties via the My Croydon app, which is quick and free to download from the Google Play store for Android smartphones or Apple iTunes store for iPhones. You can also report empty homes online at www.croydon.gov.uk or on the dedicated hotline: 020 8760 5470.
Picture caption: Croydon Council’s deputy leader Councillor Alison Butler at the newly-revamped homes in Haling Grove, South Croydon, with Croydon Council empty homes officer Francis Burton (left) and Monarch Partnership commercial director Arjan Dosanjh (right).