1,189 vacant homes back in use across the capital as social homes

by Gazette Reporter
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Almost 1,200 vacant housing units across the capital have been brought back into social housing stock within the past year.

Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien revealed that the voids stimulus programme has exceeded its national target with €56m spent to bring 3,607 units back into use.

In Dublin City 556 units which lay vacant are now occupied, with 320 turned around in Fingal, 270 in the South Dublin County Council catchment area and 43 in Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown.

As part of the stimulus programme announced in July 2020 Minister O’Brien allocated over €40m for the refurbishment of 2,500 vacant social homes.

By the end of 2020, 1,925 were occupied with a further 640 tenancies accepted. Some 297 of the refurbished homes were reserved for tenancies for homeless households at a cost of €5.2m.

Minister O’Brien said: “The shutdown in construction activity in the first half of last year has had a big impact on our delivery of new build social housing.

“The Government decided as part of the July Stimulus to make up for lost ground by allocating €40m for the refurbishment of social housing stock which was otherwise vacant.

“I asked local authorities to ensure that all homes were refurbished and at the very least allocated by the end of the year.

“Over the course of the year 3,607 vacant social homes have been brought back into use, 2,565 of those in just six months. They have been refurbished and allocated to those on the social housing list and those experiencing homelessness.”

‘Have to be innovative’

Senator Mary Fitzpatrick (FF) welcomed the fact that Dublin City Council brought 556 vacant social homes back into use in 2020.

She said: “There was also an added economic benefit with further employment generated for local builders, carpenters, painters, plumbers and electricians in Dublin city.

“I’d like to commend Dublin City Council for their work in bringing these much needed homes back into use.

“We have to be innovative and determined in our provision of housing as a result of the very real crisis we find ourselves in. The voids programme is one way to do just that.”

In December the Government committed to building up to 25,000 new homes in 2021 – more than half of them (12,750) social housing.

However ongoing restrictions due to the Covid-19 pandemic may put this target in doubt.

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