Empty homes in Preston are being brought back into use at the rate of only one a week, according to council figures.
City chiefs have announced the authority is developing a new strategy to breathe life into almost 1,200 unused properties.
Yet at the current rate it will take Preston almost 20 years to finish the job.
Today independent councillor Terry Cartwright stormed: “Enough is enough. There are people crying out for somewhere to live and yet there are all these houses standing empty. This just isn’t good enough.”
The latest Town Hall figures show 1,180 properties are unoccupied in the borough and have been for at least six months. That does not include second homes.
Yet it is estimated there are approaching 3,000 people on the housing list, with the average wait for accommodation reaching months.
Earlier this year the council unveiled a 15-year scheme to help private landlords with renovation grants to bring their properties back up to standard and fit for family use.
Yet the cash set aside to pay for it amounts to just £50,000 a year.
Since the start of 2009 the authority has managed to help owners bring less than 300 long-term empty homes back into use. But over almost five years that works out at around 60 a year, or just over one a week.
“We’ve got to start taking things into our own hands to solve this,” said Coun Cartwright. “I don’t know exactly how many houses we have done since that £50,000 figure was announced back in May, but it won’t be many.
“Let’s face it, that isn’t very much money at all, it will barely scratch the surface. With something as important as houses standing idle and dilapidated this is just a drop in the ocean. It isn’t going to make much impression.
“Ideally, as a council, we should be able to tackle these houses in a couple of years.
“But let me say, if all the 57 members of Preston City Council had family members who had nowhere to live then they would probably do something about it.
Councillor John Swindells, cabinet member for planning and regulation explained:“We’re making progress, especially with our work with Methodist Action that will see 47 properties in Preston brought back into use and generate over £800,000 for the local economy.
“We’re also working with private landlords to offer practical support and incentives to help them tackle empty homes.
“It’s very much a long-term project requiring sustained action from all those involved. But any empty home that is brought back into use is a home for someone and it makes a huge difference to them.
“People who may be homeless or living in temporary accommodation can have the basic need of a roof over their and even their family’s head.
“So it is important that as a council we do what we can to help and encourage others to do so too.”