Images showing how a badly rundown house full of junk was transformed into a model home have won an award for a Fife Council worker.
The photographs of the Methil end-terrace house show how it changed from a junk-filled eyesore with rusty vehicles in the overgrown garden to a home in pristine condition which is currently being sold.
They were captured by empty homes officer Joanne Saurin whose efforts have secured the best before and after photograph award at this year’s Howden’s Scottish Empty Homes Champion of the Year awards.
Meanwhile Councillor Fiona Grant has been given a special mention at the event for her campaign on the issue of empty homes.
The judges said this had contributed to the recruitment of two part-time empty homes officers and felt it was a great example of the role elected members can play in keeping an issue, where the council had no statutory requirement, high on the agenda.
The awards, celebrating efforts to bring Scotland’s 34,000 empty homes back into use, is organised by the Scottish Empty Homes Partnership which is funded by the Scottish Government and run by housing charity Shelter Scotland.
Recently SEHP revealed that the owners of the country’s 34,000 long-term empty properties were collectively losing out on £255 million a year by paying bills and not bringing in rent.
The partnership also calculated that communities are losing out on almost half a billion pounds because, on average, a household spends £13,000 a year in the local area.
Fife housing spokeswoman Judy Hamilton said: “The success of the project shows what can be achieved when officers work together at a practical level to tackle the many and challenging issues associated with long-term empty homes.”
Partnership manager Kristen Hubert said: “Karen’s photographs show the dramatic difference that can be made not just to a house but to a street when a property that has been neglected gets the attention it needs to turn it back into a home.
“And it’s great that the judging panel were motivated to recognise the part Councillor Grant has played in getting empty homes brought back into use in Fife.”
Fife Council has championed encouraging empty-home owners to bring their properties back into use, to increase the supply of housing and particularly to tackle the shortage of affordable homes.
Anyone with a privately-owned house empty for six months can get in touch with empty-homes officers for advice on firstname.lastname@example.org.