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Slight drop in number of empty homes in St Albans
The amount of empty homes in St Albans has dropped by 39 per cent since last year.
There are 288 empty homes across the district currently, which is down from a peak of 473 in July 2012.
St Albans District Council is working to bring empty properties back into use where possible, due to a demand for housing locally.
In July 2012, the council appointed a new Empty Homes Officer to work with owners to help return empty properties to use.
During this period 320 empty properties were inspected and in many cases the owners were located and properties brought back into use.
In some cases the empty properties were repaired and the district council is currently working on a bid to the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) for funding to offer owners interest-free loans to carry out repairs.
They are also working alongside the Emmaus charity to see if empty properties can be returned to use as houses for single homeless people.
The homeless charity has also been awarded a grant to renovate two to three houses and is in contact with owners of two properties. If Emmaus decides to take on the properties it will carry out the repairs and then use the homes for accommodation.
Councillor Brian Ellis, portfolio holder for housing at the council, said: "These figures show that that the Council is making in-roads into tackling empty homes in the district and bringing them back into use. It means that there is more accommodation available to house people."
Where long term empty properties are returned to use, the council receives additional funding from the government. Residents can contact 01727 819447 if they are aware of empty properties.