Managing voids and meeting need during coronavirus outbreak

We have heard from members that managing voids that occur during the outbreak is particularly challenging.

We know it is usually a priority to relet the property as soon as possible so you can meet your social purpose, but in current circumstances you may be facing a number of barriers to doing this safely.

These issues are sensitive, and we know that you are acting compassionately in the face of both the number of people in need of homes and the coronavirus outbreak. NHF members have been urgently working up new strategies to overcome some of these obstacles so that voids can be relet. We will be exploring the issues and what support we can offer you in more detail over the coming weeks, so please get in touch if you’d like to discuss this further.

Helping meet homelessness need

Local authorities are also keen to access voids in order to provide accommodation to rough sleepers and homeless people who need to self-isolate. On 17 March, the government announced £3.2 million emergency funding to help rough sleepers self-isolate during the coronavirus outbreak, and on 27 March, the government asked all local authorities to house all rough sleepers.

Many housing associations are already doing all they can to provide homes and services to homeless people to keep them safe during the crisis. Some members are working to relieve pressure on the NHS by preparing properties for hospital discharge and providing support in hotels newly procured as temporary accommodation. Housing associations are also helping to bring empty homes back into use for people who are homeless, as well as those in overcrowded, insecure ​homes.

We are keen to hear more about the work members are doing in this area and to understand whether there is more we can do as a sector to support local authorities in this area, so please get in touch with your thoughts and experiences.