‘Empty Homes’ Workshop Strives for Impact –TYMS academics aiming to make a difference

News | Posted on Friday 6 June 2014

Dr Alex Gillett, Kim Loader, and Professor Bob Doherty from The York Management School, together with Dr Jonathan Scott of Teesside University, have conducted a workshop as part of their ongoing research of a North East Empty Homes scheme. The event was attended by representatives from the Homes and Communities Agency, local government, housing associations and social enterprises.

Empty Homes Project houses logo
Empty Homes Project houses logo

Dr Alex Gillett, Kim Loader, and Professor Bob Doherty from The York Management School, together with Dr Jonathan Scott of Teesside University, have conducted a workshop as part of their ongoing research of a North East Empty Homes scheme.  The event was attended by representatives from the Homes and Communities Agency, local government, housing associations and social enterprises. 

The Empty Homes workshop, which was funded by The University of York using money allocated by The White Rose Partnership, sought to establish how the study might inform policy making and management decisions. 

Delegates discussed the successes and challenges of an Empty Homes scheme in the North East of England. Such schemes exist across the country to bring back in to use long-term unoccupied properties.  Findings of the research indicate the importance of interpersonal as well as organisational bonds, and shed light on balancing act between achieving benefit for local communities as well as financial sustainability.

There are many reasons why homes become empty, but in recent years government has pushed for more efficient use of existing housing stock and has encouraged local authorities and housing associations to seek ways of returning empty homes back into use, where reoccupation is identified as the best solution. 

According to Dr Alex Gillett of The York Management School:

 “This particular Empty Homes initiative has been of interest to us because of the way that it operates as a partnership involving not only the local authority and a relatively large housing association, but also smaller social enterprises to deliver training and work opportunities by employing young people to undertake some of the works.  

They have delivered the additional benefit of providing opportunities for work in areas with high levels of unemployment. Furthermore, it presents a useful revenue stream for community based social enterprises in an economic climate where their historic sources of funding are becoming more difficult to access.”

Collaboration and partnership have in recent years become important to government and social enterprise because of increasing expectations that they will work together.  A recent concept to emerge in academic literature is the hybrid organisation, a term used to explain organisations such as social enterprises, which have a social mission but which also seek financial profitability rather than reliance on grant funding in order to sustain their operation.

A recent paper co-authored by The York Management School’s Professor Bob Doherty has synthesised the emergent literature on hybrid organizations to present a new conceptual lens by which collaborations between government, social enterprises, and quasi-governmental institutions can be analysed, but there is currently a lack of empirical evidence.  It is this gap which the study seeks to address.

This workshop has been the latest instalment in what is an exciting and timely project, in light of current debates about housing policy and economic regeneration.  Positive relationships have been forged between the researchers and stakeholders. It is planned that more workshops will be organised to exchange information and develop future impact, as well as academic publications.

Contact us

York Management School
+44 (0)1904 325032

Contact us

York Management School
+44 (0)1904 325032