MORE than 1,000 properties are sitting empty in Carlisle each year, while households in the area continue to be faced with homelessness.

Campaigners say abandoned dwellings should be repurposed to tackle England's housing crisis, after councils across the country recorded hundreds of thousands of empty homes.

Figures from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities show there were at least 1,237 empty properties in Carlisle at the most recent count in October.

This is down 15 percent from 1,454 last year.

Of those, 740 had been gathering dust for six months or more, and at least 223 had been abandoned for more than two years.

The figures, which cover properties subject to council tax, also show 543 dwellings in the area were listed as second homes last month.

Different DLUHC figures show in 2020-21, 352 households in Carlisle were entitled to council support after becoming homeless or at risk of homelessness.

Cllr Paul Nedved, Carlisle City Council Portfolio holder for Economy, Enterprise and Housing, said: “High levels of empty properties are recognised as having a serious impact on the viability of communities.

"They are a blight on neighbourhoods and can attract anti-social behaviour.

“Empty homes are also a wasted resource and when brought back into use contribute to an increase in the supply of housing. Dealing with empty properties can therefore have social, economic and regenerative benefits.

“We focus on the properties have been empty for the longest time and are causing the most problems to the people who live in the local area.

"Our Empty Homes Officer concentrates on the status of properties that have been empty for two years or more this is in addition to responding to any complaints from the community.

"Our priority is to always to work with owners to help return properties back into occupation and resolve any issues impacting on the community.”

Cllr Deborah Earl, of Carlisle Key, a charity which works with young people aged 16-25 who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, said: "That seems to be a high number of empty properties when we do have a homeless problem with young people."

She added: "It does seem a shame that there are empty homes there."