A blog written by Professor Sian Griffiths the independent Chair of the CHAD Board, highlighting a £1 housing scheme by Stoke City Council, has been published on The BMJ (formerly the British Medical Journal) website.
The scheme was set up in 2013 in a run down area of the city around Portland Street with the aim of regenerating a deprived part of the city and helping the economy.
Known as the Clusters of Empty Homes Programme the initiative by Stoke City Council was developed to bring empty homes back into use as a catalyst to improving the social, economic, and environmental wellbeing of the area. By bringing in economically active people into a depressed area the council hoped to change the rhythm of the area; to make it a busy, thriving, growing locality. As well as encouraging movement back into empty housing, and attracting the New Homes Bonus and Council Tax income, the scheme has broader public health aims of creating healthier and safer environments. To quote from a paper to the housing committee: “Health and housing are intrinsically linked; a home which is free from hazards and provides modern amenities will keep residents in good health; whilst the condition of those with poor health will worsen if they live in a property which is in a poor state of repair and lacks basic modern amenities.”
The scheme is obviously not as simple as a £1 down payment. Applicants need to take a low interest loan of £30K for property renovation, as well as be in paid employment, be a first-time buyer, and be able to demonstrate that they have a good credit rating and savings for renovation. They also have to commit to living in the area for five years.
Read the full blog here.