Scandalous number of empty homes during homeless and housing crisis

Charity responds to preliminary 2016 Census publication

Friday, July 15, 2016

Dublin Simon Community has welcomed the publication of preliminary findings of Census 2016 in relation to vacant housing. The homeless and housing charity said the publication showed a clear need for a strategy to deal with empty housing stock. With 49,000 vacant dwellings in Dublin, Wicklow, Kildare and Meath, the leading homeless charity serving those four counties, said it is essential that this issue is adequately addressed in the forthcoming Action Plan by Minister Simon Coveney in conjunction with the Office of An Taoiseach.

Local Authority AREA        No. of Vacant Units ( exclude holiday homes)
Dublin City20,844
DLRCC4,968
Fingal5,565
South Dublin3,916
DUBLIN TOTAL ( 4 Areas)35,293
Kildare4,967
Wicklow3,647
Meath5,065

In response to the figures, Dublin Simon Community said; “It is scandalous that there are almost 49,000 empty homes in Dublin, totalling 260,000 across the country, when we are experiencing the worst housing and homeless crisis the country has ever seen. At a time when 2,800 people and over 1,800 children are suck in hotel rooms, B&Bs and other homeless accommodation in Dublin alone, there must be a priority to ensure there is more effective housing stock management.

“Access to appropriate affordable housing is vital if we are to prevent any more people from becoming homeless and making sure that people have every opportunity to leave homelessness behind. This aspect of private housing must be seriously examined so as to identify why such significant numbers of homes are vacant and what incentives and taxation measures can be put in place that might encourage renovation, sale, leasing or letting. We support the proposal in the Report of the Committee on Housing and Homelessness (2016) that the Government develop a two year strategy to reduce vacancies in general housing stock. Clear targets need to be set from the outset with a monitoring framework that is included in the Government’s Housing Action Plan due soon from the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government.

“There must also be a forensic examination of Local Authority housing stock because of the considerable time lag between one household leaving social housing and another household moving in. We need to know why this is – reasons can vary from one Local Authority area to another. We need to know if it is because of a resource issue, a capacity issue or a staffing issue so that it can be addressed immediately. A national register for void/empty Local Authority homes must be established so that turnaround times from refurbishment to re-let can be tracked and published on a monthly basis through the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government. It is important that Local Authorities continue to work with and develop partnerships with Housing Associations like the Simon communities to bring as many of these properties back into use as quickly as possible.”

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