According to the Department of Communities and Local Government’s latest statistics there are 53,370 households currently classed as homeless and in temporary accomodation. 40,560 (76%) of these have children within them. Much of it is subject to overcrowding and by definition is an unsettling state of flux for families to endure ongoing.
The Ministry of Defence tell me, further to a Freedom of Information request that I recently submitted and that was answered today, that they have around 50,000 homes which they control for the occupation of servicemen and women.
However of these, 7800 are currently unoccupied. That’s about 16% of their total housing stock.
The MOD say that some properties are required to remain empty in case of short notice accomodation needs. That is accepted, however surely not close to EIGHT THOUSAND HOMES!?
The MOD’s Charlie Creen also says that they realise that their void level is too high and that they want to reduce it by 2500 homes in the next two years. One wonders why this always seems to be the case when such a situation is exposed. In that those responsible react as if the issue itself is a past problem that’s someone elses fault but that is now being ‘addressed’.
The fact is that 8000 vacant homes could well serve the housing needs of nearly TWENTY percent of the UK’s homeless households with children.
There are 25 million households in Great Britain and 18% are under the guise of tenanted council owned properties or that of housing associations. That’s 4,500,000 homes.
Can you imagine of 16% of these were left empty? What an OUTCRY there would be….
Moreover, ‘When properties are no longer required by the MOD for personnel they are returned to AHL (the private sector owner on paper) and then disposed of on the open market’, says Mr Creen. It seems to me that the good stock is diminshing by way of lucrative sale and those in poor condition left to rot.
And if a large proportion of these 8000 dwellings are uninhabitable due to lack of maintenance as seems to be the case, what on earth happened to the £1billion that the Government received from their private sector sale some years ago and that was supposed to go toward the upkeep of these vitally needed properties?
I have asked housing charity SHELTER for comment, in addition to a response from the Tax Payers’ Alliance of which I am a member.