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Empty spaces in London put to good use

A charity focused on long-term poverty alleviation through the provision of social housing, has partnered with Blackstone Real Estate, the largest owner of commercial real estate globally, to make better use of empty properties in London’s Borough of Barking and Dagenham.

Empty Spaces, operated by Habitat for Humanity, converts empty commercial spaces into affordable homes for vulnerable groups facing homelessness.

The first property to be used under the new partnership has been empty for two years, and will be converted into four generous sized bedsit rooms with ensuite bathrooms and a large, shared living, dining, and kitchen area. It is well located near local transport links to help support access to training and jobs, and Becontree Shopping Centre.

In addition to providing funds that will help sustain such vital projects, Blackstone will share its expertise and knowledge with Habitat for Humanity to help them tackle the undersupply of social housing in London.

Tum Kazunga, CEO at Habitat for Humanity, said:

This is a great step towards unlocking further social housing stock. By doing so, we can provide the stability those leaving care need to unlock their potential. We believe this is a key step in addressing homelessness and boosting the overall economy by reducing social exclusion.”

Over 25% of young adults who have previously spent time in the care system, experience homelessness within two years, while over 30,000 homes lie long-term empty in London according to Action on Empty Homes. These projects will unlock much needed social housing for young care leavers, providing safety and stability for vulnerable young people, and boosting the local economy.

Image: Habitat for Humanity

Founder Member of Campaign Collective, chair of the Public Relations & Communications Association Charity and Not-For-Profit Group. Write mainly about charity, public sector and social enterprise campaigns.