A move will be made today to get the high number of empty homes in Birmingham back into use and help to reduce the number of people in the city waiting to find a house.
About 18,000 houses are currently empty - the highest number in the country.
The vast majority - 15,000 of them - are owned privately, often by investors seeking to cash in on the booming property market.
But earlier this year Birmingham was found to have almost 24,000 people on its housing waiting list - more than 900 of them classified as homeless.
The city council will today sign up with a pioneering on-line "match-making" service designed to highlight empty properties and link them to a buyer.
Called Empro.co.uk, Birmingham is the first authority to sign up to the scheme following a pilot in west London. It has been created with backing from the Empty Homes Agency, a national charity working to bring Britain's high proportion of unoccupied dwellings into use.
Coun John Lines (Con Bartley Green), Birmingham City Council's cabinet member for housing, said: "We have seen the impact Empro.co.uk has had on tackling empty housing in west London, and we believe it can play an important role in the council's strategy for bringing empty properties back into use."
A Mori study at the beginning of the year found that of 15,000 properties owned by 4,900 private individuals in Birmingham, 11,289 had been out of use for more than six months.
Half of them - 7,500 - had been unoccupied for more than nine months, suggesting they were not in-between lets or in the process of being refurbished.
Mori's research showed most of the properties' owners - 43 per cent - had an outstanding mortgage on the property, which suggests they were bought as an investment.
David Ireland, chairman of the website and local government adviser at the Empty Homes Agency, said: "Empty homes are a waste and cause many problems, such as attracting vermin and vandals, squatters and fly-tipping.
"This has a negative impact on the community and can even bring down the value of neighbouring properties."
Empro.co.uk goes on-line weeks before new laws under the The Housing Act come into force giving local authorities greater power to target empty homes.
They will allow officials to issue Empty Dwellings Management Orders if they have made every effort to trace the owners and put the accommodation to use.
Birmingham City Council recently strengthened its empty property division from one officer to a team of six.
It says it wants to adopt a more "proactive" rather than "reactive" role in addressing the problem.
That could involve the enforcement of compulsory purchase orders on long-term unoccupied properties.
In the first instance, homes that have been empty for more than five years will be targeted.
Owners will be contacted and invited to have their property advertised on the website with the authority acting as an unpaid estate agent.
If they do not agree, the property can still be placed on the site, but without any information about the address or owner, other than the area code.