May 16, 2024
Staged payments needed for government’s vacant property refurbishment grant – Eoin Ó Broin TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Housing Eoin Ó Broin TD has again called on the government to introduce staged payments for the vacant property refurbishment grant.

His call was made as figures from the Department of Housing reported that just 250 grants have been paid out since the scheme was opened two years ago.

Teachta Ó Broin said:

“The Department of Housing has published the latest vacant property refurbishment grant figures. They show that since the scheme was opened in the summer of 2022, just 250 grants have been paid out.

“What is particularly concerning is that the low level of drawdowns despite 7,366 applications and 4,278 approvals over the last 2 years.

“Since the grant was introduced, applicants have repeatedly raised the need for staged payments.

“Currently, successful applicants have to pay for the refurbishment works up front and claim the grant afterwards. This is simply unworkable.

“Many people who will be approved for the grant will not have the cash up front to cover the works. That is why they applied for the grant in the first place.

“Sinn Féin has been highly critical of this grant since its launch. It lacks ambition. The targets and funding are too low. And crucially staged payments must be introduced

“Minister O’Brien must introduce staged payment if this scheme is to have any chance of getting off the ground. Beyond this, the government needs far greater ambition in addressing the unacceptable levels of vacancy and dereliction across the State.

“This would require direct funding to Local Authorities to buy and refurbish thousands of vacant homes for use as social, affordable rental and affordable purchase homes in addition to a reformed vacant property refurbishment grant.”

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