It is an arguable point that the Housing Crisis could be solved faster by using the empty houses. Especially when a new study has revealed that more than 4,000 houses are sitting empty in Brighton and Hove.
A newly published Government report showed there were 4,276 vacant homes in the city, despite a national housing crisis and record levels of homelessness in the country.
The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government report said roughly one in every 30 houses in the city was vacant at the last count, which took place in October 2017.
It also said 889 of these were classed as long-term vacancies, meaning they had been left empty for more than six months.
News of the figures has provoked anger and frustration from those currently sleeping rough in the city.
Emma, 26, from Brighton, who is currently homeless, said: “It’s very bad, there are so many empty homes around here.
“When you’ve got nowhere to sleep, it can be really difficult knowing that there’s all these places with no one inside of them.
“They’re doing no use as they are.
“I do think something needs to be done because it’s so hard not having somewhere to sleep at night.”
Paul, 35, who is also currently homeless, said: “As a country, we’ve got all these resources, this is a rich city, it seems ridiculous that there should be so many people sleeping on the streets here.
“I’ve got a friend who is homeless who’s a qualified electrician.
“I’m a qualified double glazing fitter.
“We’ve all got things to contribute, we’ve all got value.
“I don’t know why something can’t be done.”
Polly Neate, chief executive of housing charity Shelter, said that making sure properties were occupied was just part of the answer to the country’s housing shortage.
She said: “In the midst of a homelessness crisis it is of course frustrating to see houses left empty.
“But the fact is that even if we filled every one of these, there still wouldn’t be nearly enough homes to solve the problem.
“Decades of failure to build has left us in the lurch. The Government must now get on and build a new generation of social homes where people need them most.”
A spokesman for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government said the Government was committed to bringing forward legislation to allow to double the rate of council tax on those homes left empty for two years or longer.