Housing minister Kris Hopkins has made a fact-finding visit to leading Keighley housing support agency Keyhouse.

He saw at first hand the success of a government-funded scheme to bring empty homes back into use.

Keyhouse renovates the houses then rents them to people on low incomes on behalf of the owners.

Mr Hopkins, the Keighley MP, first looked around an empty house in the Knowle Park area awaiting renovation. Then he visited a refurbished house in the town to speak to the young woman living there.

Mr Hopkins told us: “For years these properties stood empty and unused. When families are in urgent need of homes it’s right we do everything we can to tackle that .

“I was delighted to see how Government funding has helped the Keyhouse project bring six long-term empty homes back into use, with more in the pipeline.

“Our Empty Homes Community Fund gives communities a chance to breathe new life into their neighbourhood and I’m pleased to see how the community in Keighley has taken up this important challenge.”

Dave Gibson, who runs the scheme, said Keyhouse had wanted to make Mr Hopkins aware of what was happening. He said: “It was to make him see how good the scheme is for people in the Keighley area. We see there’s a shortage of affordable houses locally. This is turning properties round and providing affordable houses.

“The scheme is not only for those on benefits but people on low incomes. It can be singles, couples or people with children.”

Keyhouse last year won £260,000 for its innovative scheme from the Empty Homes Community Grants Programme.

It has already brought at least 10 houses back into use and hopes to have a portfolio of 25 rented houses.

Property owners interested in signing up to the scheme should contact Mr Gibson on (01535) 211311.