Bringing Back Empty Homes 

Article by:  
Rose Adderley  
Marketing & Communications Assistant | ACH Bristol 
On the 21st of September, we officially opened up three refurbished houses in Bristol. These will be home to five Ashley Community Housing tenants. These houses are designed to be ‘move-on’ homes, where the individuals have a chance to settle into their surroundings and have a place they can call home, before eventually finding their own accommodation. 
 
Ashley Community Housing acquired these properties through Bristol City Council, who are working with us to provide an innovative solution to housing refugees and to address the issue of empty properties around the city. All three properties required extensive repair and refurbishment, and the cost of this was funded by ACH. In return, the Council agreed to grant leases for 10 years at peppercorn rents in order that ACH could fund the repair work. 
 
The official launch was well attended with multiple media teams covering the event. Cllr Paul Smith, Cabinet Member for Homes, liaised with ACH to make this happen. He says, "Having houses sat empty is a tragic waste when the city is in the middle of a housing crisis, and we have to do all we can to reduce the amount of time properties stand empty.” 
 
Our property team have done an amazing job with the houses, but not without help from some of our tenants. The tenants who worked on the property also received construction skills that could help to benefit them in their futures. 
 
Saed Mohammed, ACH's Property Manager, explained “I feel very privileged to have been involved in such a life-transforming project, which has had a huge impact on peoples’ lives. Not only will it provide accommodation to those who need it, it has also offered first-hand experience to the very people who will be residents in these refurbished properties, helping them gain valuable skills in building work which will enhance their future employability in the construction sector.” 
 
This comes at a time where we are expanding, with demand for housing high. It was a great pleasure to be offered these properties, as it means we can help more people. 
 
ACH are keen to work with other partners in the same way, to minimise empty houses in the city and help house the refugees on their waiting list. To find out more, or to offer properties, contact saed.mohamed@ashleyhousing.com
 
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