Dublin Simon Community announces new research project with Dr Kathleen Stokes of University of Galway


Dublin Simon Community, in association with Dr Kathleen Stokes of University of Galway, is pleased to announce a new research project examining opportunities and challenges for widespread refurbishment of vacant “above-the-shop” units for residential use.

Ireland is facing record numbers in emergency accommodation, and almost 60,000 waiting for social housing. Increasingly, policymakers and the public point to vacant units and buildings as a potential untapped opportunity for addressing the ongoing housing crisis. While widespread, vacant above-the-shop units can be particularly challenging vacant properties to bring into residential use. This study will conduct practical, action-oriented analysis of issues and opportunities using three complimentary methods: a domestic and international review of existing approaches, facilitated workshops to gather stakeholder insights and expertise, and finally, an examination of the various issues in practice through interviews.

Funded the by the Housing Agency Research Support Programme the project seeks to identify available best practices, solutions and policy guidance, and asses how lessons could be applied in a systematic approach to vacant units over shops for residential use, and social housing in particular. Alongside research, Dublin Simon Community will also assess the feasibility of this approach in the context of its own social housing delivery. The project started in spring 2023 and will result a policy report and other outputs available in early 2024.

If you have been involved in the conversion or refurbishment of a vacant above-the-shop unit into housing in Ireland or are interested in the project, the research team would love to hear from you. Please get in touch if you’d like to share your thoughts and experiences, or learn more about the research here:  https://forms.office.com/e/Lmx63snrAw