MORE than 500 applications have been received to bring empty homes back into use through Welsh Government’s £10 million Empty Homes Grant Scheme, Deputy Minister for Economy and Transport Lee Waters has announced.
Phase One of the initiative was launched a year ago by Mr Waters, who is the current chair of the Valleys Taskforce, after a successful pilot in Rhondda Cynon Taf.
The scheme is open to home owners across the extended Valleys Taskforce area, which runs from Carmarthenshire in West Wales through to Torfean in East Wales.
Phase Two of the scheme, launched in July 2020, will ensure greater numbers of local businesses are used to bring empty homes back to life, and incentivise applicants to use more energy efficient measures within their renovations. Not only will this help to reduce carbon emissions, it will also result in lower energy bills for future residents.
While the schemes will see some applicants going on to live in their refurbished properties, other properties will be bought in to use for social housing by Registered Social Landlords, helping to increase the supply of affordable housing.
Lee Waters said “It is heartening to see the scheme progressing well, with over 500 applications already received and I hope many more to come. The criteria for these grants was developed collaboratively with local authorities and I want to put on record my thanks for all their hard work.”
He added: “I’m really pleased that people living in the Amman and Gwendraeth valleys can now benefit from these grants after I helped to get them included within the Valleys Taskforce area. For communities like Cross Hands, Tumble and Pontyberem, this scheme has the potential not only to bring empty properties back into use, but to nurture the local economy by providing work for small local builders. I would urge anyone interested who lives in the Valleys Taskforce area to apply.”
The areas eligible can be found here: https://gov.wales/valleys-taskforce-empty-homes
Mike Roberts, from Carmarthenshire, applied to Phase One of the scheme. He said: “My house had been empty for more than two years and desperately needed to be restored to a decent standard. The Empty Homes Grant Scheme was a great help and allowed me to carry out essential works all at once.”
To be eligible for the Empty Homes Scheme, homes need to have been empty for at least 6 months. Applicants to the scheme are also restricted to one grant per person and in cases where work exceeds £20,000, will have the option to apply for the Welsh Government’s House in to Homes Scheme.
To apply, visit: https://gov.wales/valleys-taskforce-empty-homes