Screen Shot 2016-05-20 at 11.01.32Newcastle City Council’s work to turn empty properties back into homes has received national recognition with not one but two nominations at the prestigious Empty Homes Awards.

The Empty Homes Team was only established in 2012 but is already leading the way both in the region and at a national level.

Frances Shieber, the city’s first dedicated Empty Homes Officer, has been nominated for Practitioner of the Year for her innovative approach, excellent organizational skills and commitment to going the extra mile.

Her enthusiastic, dynamic and friendly approach has led to over 60 empty properties being turned into homes in the last year alone, with owners investing over £700,000 in properties in the city.

Frances never misses an opportunity to promote the Newcastle Empty Homes Offer.  Earlier this year she was filmed for a fly on the wall BBC documentary highlighting the impact empty properties have on an area and the challenges the council faces when encouraging owners to bring empty properties back into use.

This starring role, along with a proactive campaign in the local press and on social media, is undoubtedly why the Newcastle Empty Homes Team received their nomination for Best use of the Media.

Councillor Jane Streather, Cabinet Member for Public Health and Housing, said “In the past the responsibility for empty homes in Newcastle was shared across a number of sections in the council and was sometimes disjointed.”

“Establishing an Empty Homes Team has been a great success.  Frances’ persuasive and professional attitude has resulted in maximum return for minimal council spend and removed the blight of empty properties in many areas of our city.”

“We’re all very proud and wish Frances and the team the very best of luck at the Awards Ceremony on 24 May.