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OHM Urges Better Use of 5,000 Empty Homes in Oxfordshire

Oxford, 27th February 2023

In Oxfordshire there are almost five thousand empty homesAlmost 5,000 homes in Oxfordshire are presently empty. That’s according to data from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities—DLUHC.

Monday 27th February to Sunday 5th March is #EmptyHomesWeek2023 which offers participating councils and other local organisations an opportunity to demonstrate the action they are taking to bring wasted empty homes back into use, and to take action on empty homes which negatively impact neighbourhoods. This year, Oxfordshire Homeless Movement (OHM) is calling on councils, voluntary organisations, and owners to work together to find creative solutions.

Chair of OHM Jane Cranston said: “Everyone can do their bit. Thanks to proper transparency from DLUHC, we gain visibility on what is otherwise an invisible problem. The published figures surely give us all a call to action to do all we can to put existing housing stock to good use for all concerned, including the most marginalised in society.”

New powers under the 2022 Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill will mean councils will adopt new policies to:

  • help reduce the number of empty homes
  • consider ways to calm second home house purchasing
  • take action with community group partners on empty homes

However, there are doubts the powers in this Bill can solve the problem on their own. “Oxford city has a severe housing shortage due to a growing population and limited opportunity to develop land for additional housing,” commented J Smith of Oxford City Council. “For this reason the Council is committed to encouraging owners to bring unoccupied dwellings back into use.”

Last year, the organisation behind National Empty Homes Week—Action on Empty Homes, or AEH, publicised action being taken by councils across England and argued for additional support for local authorities in bringing empty homes into use. AEH is now calling for Government funding to support local initiatives to retrofit empty homes, develop green skills and build local supply infrastructure.

National Empty Homes WeekOHM’s partner, the employment charity and social enterprise Aspire, has recently demonstrated just what can be done, with a project in central Oxford that refurbished and transformed several empty townhouses to deliver stable, supported homes for over 30 people experiencing homelessness.

      The BBC recently highlighted the extent of the problem in other UK regions.

      Additional Information

      Contact details: Yvonne Pinner, Oxfordshire Homeless Movement, email

      How you can help:

      • Report an empty home causing concern in Oxford, or to talk about an empty property you own that would like used
      • Be a part of the week on social media @emptyhomes and #emptyhomes or #EmptyHomesWeek2023
      • Share our own social media posts about this from Facebook and Twitter
      • Sign up to the AEH retrofit call to action Google form. Read more about their retrofit revolution event.