March 8, 2021
Government has met just 30% of its vacant housing target to date – Eoin Ó Broin TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Housing Eoin Ó Broin TD has criticised the government for failing to deliver on its vacant homes strategy.

document published by Teachta Ó Broin today shows how the government missed its owned vacant homes targets by 70%.

Figures from the Department of Housing show that only 1,672 homes have been delivered to date via three government schemes; Repair and Lease, Buy and Renew, and the Housing Agency Fund. The government’s target across all three schemes was 5,600.

Teachta Ó Broin said:

“Since the government’s three vacant homes schemes were introduced, only 1,672 homes have been brought into use out of a target of 5,600.

“Only 198 homes had been brought back into use under the Repair and Lease scheme by the end of August 2020. This is a very poor return considering the former Minister for Housing Simon Coveney set a target to deliver 3,500 homes by 2021.

“670 new social homes have been delivered via Buy and Renew up to the end of 2020. Only 804 homes have been purchased out of the €70m rolling Housing Agency fund, despite 1,600 homes targeted for delivery by 2020 in Rebuilding Ireland and 1,800 homes being offered.

“This is a very disappointing rate of return given that the last census in 2016 identified 189,000 vacant homes across the country and the Geo Directories confirmed 90,000 of this figure.

“Housing delivery from the Repair and Leasing scheme can only be described as a huge failure. Despite the 3,500-target set by Minister Coveney, four years in and despite tweaks to the scheme in 2018, the government has only reached 5.7% of its target.

“The Housing Agency €70m rolling fund has only acquired 804 homes as of the end of 2020. It is disappointing that despite 1,800 homes being offered and a target of 1,600 properties to be delivered by 2020.

“Neither this government nor the last has put sufficient funding or support in place to ensure that these schemes delivered on their targets.

“The schemes should have demonstrated greater flexibility and more support should have been given to smaller, more rural local authorities in order to bring homes back into use.

“The Minister for Housing must set out a new and more ambitious strategy. This should include, a dedicated vacant homes officer in each local authority, increased use of CPO powers by the Councils, the rollout of a specific scheme, in conjunction with the Department of Health and the Department of Housing to bring some homes in the Fair Deal schemes back into use; and specific year-on-year targets for returning vacant homes to use must be set in each local authority.”

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