Dept Of Housing Accused Of Failing To Fund Refurbishment Of Vacant Units

The Department of Housing has been accused of failing to approve funding to refurbish almost 1,500 currently vacant housing units.

Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Housing, Planning and Local Government, Barry Cowen, said he had obtained new figures showing the department has failed to approve funding to refurbish approximately 1,449 housing units that are currently vacant.

"New information obtained by Fianna Fáil through a series of Freedom of Information requests to each Local Authority, shows a lack of progress in refurbishing vacant social housing units," Deputy Cowen said. "According to the information we have received there are approximately 2,751 housing units still vacant throughout the country.

"The Department of Housing has informed us that it has approved funding to refurbish 1,302 vacant housing units. This means that there are approximately 1,449 vacant housing units that are yet to be allocated refurbishment funding.

"Minister Coveney has said that he is satisfied that the €24m allocated to refurbishing vacant units is adequate. However it is clear that his department is providing refurbishment funding for less than 50% of the vacant units that have been identified to date.

"It is also important to note that the Department of Housing is actually spending €9m less on refurbishing vacant properties as compared to 2015, despite the existence of so many vacant units."

He continued: "Minister Coveney needs to explain why refurbishing funding has not been allocated for 1,449 vacant units in the midst of a homelessness crisis. These units represent the 'low hanging fruit' of housing supply, which could be turned around quickly with a clearer strategy and direction from the Minister.

"To put the potential contribution of vacant houses to supply into perspective, only 75 new local authority houses were constructed in 2015. The Department needs to wake up and get all these units back to use as a matter of urgency. Refurbishing vacant units will provide much needed housing while we await the construction of new builds."


Related Irish News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

10 November 2015
'No Excuse' For Social Housing Units Lying Empty - SF
Sinn Féin housing spokesperson, Dessie Ellis, has said that there is "no excuse" for 3000 social housing units lying idle across the state in a time of crisis when over 130,000 households are on waiting lists for such housing.
28 August 2015
Sinn Féin's Opposition To Housing Plans 'Almost Beyond Belief' - Dowds
Sinn Féin's opposition to a proposal to build 50 new social housing units in Clondalkin has been described as an "absolutely disgrace and almost beyond belief". Labour TD Robert Dowds accused Cllr Eoin Ó Broin of "complete political cowardice", and that it was people on the housing waiting list that would suffer as a result.
04 April 2014
New Report Projects Housing Needs
A new report published today by the Government's advisory body on housing, the Housing Agency, has projected the level of housing needed across the Republic in the next five years.
08 June 2018
McAuliffe Hits Out At Govt For Delay On Affordable Housing Scheme
Cllr Paul McAuliffe has hit out at the government over its failure to introduce a State-led Affordable Housing Scheme. He said: "It's been two years since then Minister for Housing, Simon Coveney convened an emergency session with the City Council's Corporate Policy Group to discuss the three 'expression of interest sites'.
02 March 2016
DCC To Build 131 Modular Housing Units By Autumn
Dublin City Council (DCC) has revealed a modular housing project for homeless people is to be completed this autumn. Around 131 Rapid Build Housing Units are to be developed on sites in Drimnagh, Ballyfermot and Belcamp at the beginning of April. A further site in Finglas is scheduled to begin construction in July.