Almost 500 MK properties that have stood empty for more than a year should be used to solve the city’s housing crisis, campaigners have insisted.
The tragedy of two deaths of homeless people on the streets prompted Milton Keynes People’s Assembly to put in a Freedom Of Information request to the council requesting a list of all the long-term empty properties in the area.
The full list has now been released the full list on the People’s Assembly website https://peoplesassemblymk.org/homelessness/ where the properties can also be viewed on Google Maps.
It includes properties that Milton Keynes Council are liable for, and all have been empty for 12 months or more.
People’s Assembly spokesman Sean Perry said: “The list shows all the long-term empty properties in Milton Keynes and who has liability for them. Notably, there are a large number of properties that Milton Keynes Council is liable for.”
Sean added: “Despite the council publicly showing sympathy towards homeless people and a willingness to help, the answer to the homelessness crisis in Milton Keynes has been right under their noses.
“The property market is out of control. Homelessness has risen dramatically since 2010 and there is a huge list of people waiting to be housed. And yet here we are with a list of almost 500 empty properties. More council properties, such as the Buszy, are managed by Milton Keynes Development Partnership although they are not included on this list.”
The People’s Assembly is now pushing for the government to take action and give the council the powers and funds it needs to tackle the situation.
“This should include enabling the council to control rents and to make use of empty properties to provide affordable housing for all,” said Sean.
“We want to see a commitment from all the councillors in MK to using council properties and those managed by MKDP to house the homeless.”
The FOI was prompted by the deaths of Tony Porter, whose body was found outside the city centre church in February, and fellow rough sleeper Patrick Allen who died two weeks later.
Sean said: “Public concern, already at a high level due to the clear increase of visible homeless people, has turned towards outrage that such tragic loss of life is possible in one of the richest nations on the planet. This is nothing short of a humanitarian crisis and our elected representatives should be treating it as such.”