Press Release: Dagenham Empty Homes


For Immediate Release: 07 February 2013                                                                                                           


On 25th January 2013 Habitat for Humanity, a housing-based development charity working in 70 countries worldwide including the UK, completed their first government-funded empty homes, in Dagenham, Essex.

The three flats in Dagenham are the first properties under the Department of Communities & Local Government (DCLG) Empty Homes community Grants programme to be made available in London.

Since the launch of the charity’s Empty Homes scheme in 2010, Habitat for Humanity have refurbished and decorated 16 empty properties in Great Britain, providing affordable housing for families in desperate need.

Gareth Hepworth, Chief Executive Officer of Habitat for Humanity’s domestic operations said: “The refurbishment of empty property allows all concerned to achieve a positive outcome.  Families get the housing they desperately need, an eyesore in the community is bought back to life and society uses its scarce housing resources to the full.

The completion event was held on Friday 25th January and was attended by representatives from the DCLG, the local council, government members, and partnering organisations with the scheme.  At the event the flats were formerly handed over to Genesis Housing who are taking on the management of the properties and housing families in need.

In 2012 Habitat for Humanity was awarded a £566,000 grant by the DCLG, as part of the current government’s Empty Homes Programme, to reduce the number of long term empty homes by 3300 by April 2015.  The grant was awarded to provide 35 affordable homes in London and Banbury over the next three years.  The flats in Dagenham were the first homes to be made available through this grant in London and a further 32 properties are scheduled be delivered across London and Banbury, Oxfordshire.

Habitat for Humanity’s domestic operations in London were established in 1996. In Great Britain, the charity has a unique partnership model to build and refurbish properties using volunteers from the local community and corporate partners with opportunities for construction trainees to be involved on a live building site.

Current projects in GB

  • Refurbishment of empty homes in Peckham
  • Renovating empty homes, in partnership with South West London YMCA by creating move-on accommodation for those ready for independent living.
  • Community projects to refurbish and renovate YMCA accommodation in West London and Charlie Chaplin’s Adventure playground for young people with physical impairments in South London.
  • Construction of homes in Liverpool

Active locations for empty homes work

  • London Boroughs – Kingston, Sutton, Merton, Wandsworth, Lewisham, Southwark, Greenwich, Bromley, plus Barking & Dagenham.
  • Regional Council Partnerships – Tamworth Borough Council and Cherwell District Council.

Habitat for Humanity in Great Britain is partnering with various local authorities, housing associations, community organisations and private owners in the above areas.  As the empty homes programme continues to expand throughout the UK, Habitat for Humanity is continuously on the look-out for empty properties to refurbish that will house families in need.

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For Further Information contact:

  • Gareth Hepworth, Chief Executive Officer, Habitat for Humanity GB (Domestic Operations), 93 Gordon Road, London SE15 3RR.  Tel: 07946 637272 (mobile) / Tel: 0207 732 0066 (office), Email:, Web:
  • Diane Regan, Corporate Relations Manager, Habitat for Humanity GB (Domestic Operations), 93 Gordon Road, London SE15 3RR. Tel: 07958 481782 (mobile) / Tel: 02047 732 0066 (office), Email:,  Web: