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Yorkshire Times
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3:18 PM 15th July 2021
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Derelict Leeds Houses To Be Transformed Into New Homes With Community Investment

Former trainee (now staff member) Ryan Jeffers decorating a formerly derelict property.
Former trainee (now staff member) Ryan Jeffers decorating a formerly derelict property.
Charity Leeds Action to Create Homes (Latch) has launched a new initiative to raise £350,000 to transform even more empty properties and lives in Leeds.

The Community Share Issue will enable people from local communities in Leeds and beyond to make a real difference by investing for social good. The funds raised will enable six currently empty and derelict properties to be completely renovated into good quality, energy efficient homes for the growing number of people in the city in urgent housing need.

It is estimated that a family becomes homeless every 7 hours in the city, whilst over 3,500 privately owned properties remain empty*. A majority of people in need of housing face other challenges in their lives including unemployment, domestic violence and abuse.

It’s not only bricks and mortar that Latch transforms - all tenants are provided with support in everything from financial matters to job seeking and mental health for as long as they need to get their lives back on track. The charity also builds futures for the long term unemployed, by providing opportunities for trainees to join them to gain vital construction skills, working alongside staff to complete the renovations.

The charity aspires to raise £350,000, which will be matched by funds raised from its more traditional funding base of grants and loans. If more can be raised, more properties can be purchased and more lives transformed.

James Hartley, CEO of Latch explains: “The Community Share Issue is a way for local communities to give back and make a real difference here in Leeds whilst also benefiting financially themselves. This is the first time we will have raised funds like this in our 30 year history but it’s an established model in the social housing and wider charity sector with Leeds Community Homes leading the way here in 2018.

"More properties mean we can change more lives. Six new properties mean we could help six more adults and three more children on top of the 140 people already helped each year. Renovated houses also have benefits for the wider Leeds community, with derelict properties tending to be hubs of antisocial activity. We’re really proud of the long legacy of positive impact we have on both individual lives and those of the communities in which we work.”

Socially responsible investors could earn a return of up to 4% per year and members of local communities can join together as a group to invest. Like any investment, there are risks associated.

Anyone interested in investing for social good by supporting Latch can find out more at www.ethex.org.uk/invest/LATCH.