Hundreds of empty homes will be brought back into use under plans outlined by the City of Edinburgh Council.
A task force will look into how best to use around 1500 properties in the capital that have been vacant since December 2011. Of those, 967 had been unoccupied for a year or more.
Its remit will include offering advice to owners of empty homes, entering a bid for funding from the Scottish Government’s Empty Homes Loan Fund and examining the implications of charging higher council tax on empty properties.
Councillor Cammy Day, the council's housing leader, said: "Even though Edinburgh has a relatively low level of empty homes in both the social and private sectors, this council has a duty to look at all the avenues open to us to deliver more homes.
"Everyone knows there is a desperate need for more housing in the capital and we hope the task force will be able to find ways of bringing more empty homes back into use."
The percentage of empty homes in Edinburgh has been steadily decreasing since 2008 from 2.4% to 2% in 2011 – less than the Scottish average of 2.8%.
A council spokesperson said steps had already been taken to reduce the potential for a greater number of empty homes during the recession by working with builders and housing associations to buy unsold new properties and convert them to affordable homes.
This has resulted in a total of 76 newly built unsold properties being purchased since 2010/11.
The council has also used council tax data to contact over 1000 owners of homes that had been empty for more than six months and outline the benefits of bringing their homes back into use.
Kristen Hubert of Shelter Scotland, who runs the Scottish Government funded Scottish Empty Homes Partnership, said: "The council should be praised for setting up this task force and their commitment to bringing empty homes back into use.
"There are many reasons why a home might be left empty. Owners can have sentimental attachment to it or they don't have the finances, the time or the skills to complete their plans for the property.
"Whatever the reason, bringing empty homes back into use has many benefits - it adds to the housing supply, contributes to local regeneration and supports community safety."