Homeless campaigners have staged a squat at a city property in protest over the number of homes lying empty.
The group, calling itself the Birmingham Tenants and Homeless Action Group, says it plans to “do up” the council-owned Highgate Park three-bedroom detached - then hand it to someone living on the streets. Members moved-in on Sunday.
Activist Andy Hamilton, 23, said: “This property has been left empty for years now. There is nothing wrong with it. People are living rough on the streets - they are getting very ill and even dying.”
However, a city council spokesman warned it was considering “all legal options” to take back the house.
The protest group said it has acted to highlight the city council’s record on tackling homelessness. The property is, they claim, one of 11,000 unoccupied across the city.
“We want this house, and others like it, to be put back into use right away to help tackle the housing crisis,” added Mr Hamilton.
The group said the city council is “failing to take action” to help the homeless population, which, they claim, has swollen by 25 per cent in three years.
A Birmingham City Council spokesman stressed tackling homelessness is a “high priority” despite the authority’s own figures showing the problem has decreased by seven per cent over the last year.
“We have successfully helped 7,277 households avoid homelessness during 2011/12 - a 51 per cent increase when compared to the previous year.
“This assistance can come in a variety of forms, from negotiating with landlords to identifying alternative accommodation.
“The council is also taking action to increase the supply of affordable homes and recently launched a new scheme to bring 190 privately-owned empty properties back into use.”
She added: “We are currently considering all legal options to re-secure the building which has been occupied.”